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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States—more than 2 million Americans are diagnosed every year. So, before you head out the door:
Remember, not all sunscreens are created equal!
- No spray sunscreen! Super-convenient, sure, but they may pose serious risks if inhaled and they make it too easy to apply too little or miss a spot.
- Super-high SPFs (SPF 50 or higher) are not your friend. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) refers only to protection against UVB radiation and has little to do with protecting you form UVA rays—the ones that accelerate skin aging and
- Oxybenzone can mimic estrogen. That’s right, estrogen. A number of sunscreens contain the chemical oxybenzone, which penetrates skin, gets into the bloodstream and may act like estrogen in the body! It can also trigger allergic reactions.
- Retinyl palmitate may harm your skin. On sun-exposed skin, the retinyl palmitate found in some sunscreens has been shown to speed development of skin tumors and lesions.
- Skip sunscreen / bug repellent combos. Studies suggest that in some cases chemicals that filter ultraviolet rays can interact with insect repelling chemicals in ways that decrease sunburn protection. Also, if you apply these products every two hours (as you should for proper sun protection!), you may be overexposed to the repellent chemicals.
- Keep away from sunscreen powders and towelettes. Even the FDA’s weak sunscreen rules bar these products! Their level of protection is quite dubious.
- Seriously ~ no tanning oils! Tanning oils are just a bad idea. They barely—if at all— protect you from the sun.