When visiting a sunny island environment for any length of time, sunscreen is vital for healthy skin. However, it can be difficult to know which are the best sunscreens for your next island vacation.
Best Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you know that not all sunscreens are created equally. You may experience breakouts, rashes or itchy patches that steal the joy away from your fun in the sun. WebMD recommends that you look for sunscreens that do not contain para-aminobenzoic acid, or PABA. Also, seek sunscreens that have no artificial colors or fragrances. Many websites promote making your own sunscreen if you have sensitive skin, but few experts recommend going that route. Homemade sunscreens may be all natural, but there is no way to guarantee that they protect against UVB and UVA rays.
Best Sunscreens for Families
Children over 6 months old benefit from kid-friendly sunscreens. These seldom contain PABA. Instead, they usually include titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. EWG warns against sunscreens containing oxybenzone, which has been shown to disrupt hormones in children. Your best bet is to look for labels that are marketed toward children, but also be sure to read the ingredients. Some sunscreens that are marketed to kids are not appropriate for all children. Likewise, remember never to use sunscreen on babies who are under 6 months old. Instead, keep them covered and shaded as much as possible.
Best Waterproof Sunscreens
Waterproof sunscreens should be SPF 50 or higher, guard against UVA and UVB rays, and allow up to 80 minutes of swim time before needing to be reapplied. Many so-called waterproof sunscreens do not meet expectations. Studies show that more than half of the most popular brands should not be used at all when spending time in the water. Most dermatologists recommend ensuring that zinc oxide is a primary ingredient in waterproof sunscreens. They also recommend putting the sunscreen on repeatedly and in heavy applications.
Most Effective Sunscreen
Believe it or not, most medical professionals agree that the brand of sunscreen is not nearly as important as how it is applied. The Mayo Clinic states that you should take care to study the sunscreen bottle. Buy sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher. Apply 15 minutes before going into the sun, and then reapply every two hours. It is also important to reapply sunscreen after going into the water, even if you are wearing a waterproof product. Lastly, don’t spend too long in the sun if you can avoid it.
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