“…Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.” – Baz Luhrmann
In the midst of summer and all the fun in the outdoors that is accompanied by beautiful weather and sunshine, many of us often fail to consider the damaging effects that UV radiation from the sun has on our skin when stepping out of the house. While sunlight does provide us with means of obtaining Vitamin D, prolonged exposure to both UVA and UVB rays can cause side effects such as burning and wrinkling of the skin. These effects only shadow a much bigger problem. Yes, you guessed it – skin cancer. With repeated prolonged exposure to sunlight and constant damage, these radioactive waves can cause significant mutations to skin cells causing them to become cancerous over time, therefore, it is important for doctors and health media to stress the importance of sunscreen application when venturing outdoors.
In African American skin, melanin provides a sun protection factor (SPF) approximately equivalent to 13.4, compared to 3.4 in white skin. While this means that African Americans are not as prone to getting skin cancer as other races, it does not mean that they should completely ignore the usage of sunscreen. Containing the minerals titanium and zinc oxide, these physical substances in sunscreen are the two main components which serve to block out UVA and UVB rays. In essence, the application of sunscreen onto the skin serves as many tiny mirrors that reflect the suns ultraviolet rays away from the skin. So how do you know which kind of sunscreen to use especially with so many options out there ranging from lotions, to spray-on, and sticks? To make it easy, we have broken down each type to better suit your needs.
Lotions: These get the job done best and live up to their SPF claim than any other category of sunscreens
We recommend: Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 ($7.85)
Sprays: These also did well in testing but because they are in aerosol cans, pricing was a bit higher. Also very time convenient, just spray and go.
We recommend: Banana Boat SunComfort Continuous Spray SPF 50+ ($10)
Sticks: Although they are less effective than lotions and sprays, they still provide adequate blocking.
We recommend: Coppertone Kids Stick SPF 55 ($5.50)
Summertime is best when you can enjoy some fun in the sun, but it is also important to understand the harmful effects that UV rays are able to produce. With that being said, slap on that sunscreen and hit the beach! Adventure is out there!
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