(StatePoint) Protecting skin from the sun is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Unfortunately, many people fail to take sufficient measures year-round, but especially in summer when skin exposure tends to be at its peak.
Men can be particularly neglectful. Indeed, fewer than 15 percent of men use sunscreen regularly when outside for more than an hour, according to the Center for Disease Control.
“This summer, make sun care a habit,” urges Dr. Richard C. Kirkpatrick of the Brevard Skin and Cancer Center. “By finding a sunscreen you like that suits your activities, you’ll be more apt to apply it often.”
Kirkpatrick notes that with so many choices, finding sunscreen that works best for your lifestyle and properly applying it can be confusing. Luckily, some brands are helping simplify selection. For example, BullFrog now segments sunscreens according to the activity and environment in which they will be used.
Read labels for application instructions and to determine whether a given product is right for you, and consider these quick tips for maximum skin protection:
• Broad-spectrum sunscreens contain both UVA and UVB protection. Select one with an SPF of at least 30 and apply evenly 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. One ounce is the right quantity to cover the whole body. Don’t forget ears, back of neck, hands, tops of feet and top of the head, if exposed. Reapply every two hours and after swimming, sweating and towel drying.
• Going swimming? Use sunscreen engineered for water resistance. The hydrophobic polymers contained in BullFrog Water Sport make it a good option for intense water sports. Or toss some Ocean Potion into your beach bag — the brand’s new H20 Sport SPF 50 spray has an oil-free, instant dry formula and is PABA- and paraben-free. Whatever sunscreen you opt for, don’t forget to reapply after exiting the water.
• If you’re playing a sport where you need to keep hands grease-free, use an alcohol-based gel that dries quickly. For example, BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel is water- and sweat-resistant and allows for clear application and quick dry-down so you can get back to the action fast. If you sweat a lot while working out or simply going about your day, avoid sunscreen running into your eyes with a solid stick formula.
• In the woods? Pack lightly by beating burn and bite with a sunscreen that’s also an insect repellent. For example, BullFrog’s Mosquito Coast has a DEET-free formula so you don’t have to wash off when returning from outdoors.
• Don’t let cost prevent you from taking care of yourself and your family’s skin. Affordable sunscreens are available. For instance, NO-AD, the first mass brand sunscreen to be paraben-free, retinyl palmitate-free and PABA-free, has a lower cost per ounce than national brands and also carries formulas specific for babies and oil-free options for the face.
“Whether you’re a long distance runner or a beach bum, sun protection should be part of your routine,” says Kirkpatrick.