Sunscreen

Are you confused by all the sunscreen options and ingredients? From information about water resistant sunscreens to SPF 50 to broad spectrum protection, The Skin Cancer Foundation has you covered.

What You Need to Know About Sunscreen


What Are Sunscreens?

Sunscreens are products combining several ingredients that help prevent the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.


What Are UVA and UVB?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the longer wave UV ray that causes lasting skin damage, skin aging, and can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the shorter wave UV ray that causes sunburns, skin damage, and can cause skin cancer.


What Is SPF?

SPF – or Sun Protection Factor – is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Here's how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer – about five hours. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB.


What Does Broad-Spectrum Mean?

Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Beginning in December 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began to implement new rules for "broad-spectrum" products.Learn about recent changes to sunscreen labels


 

Learn More About Sunscreen

  • Sunscreens Explained

    The sunscreen aisle of a drugstore offers lots of choices, but which one is right for you? We show you how to find the sunscreen that best fits your lifestyle.Read More

  • Sunscreen Safety: The Reality

    Despite recent claims about sunscreen safety, consumers should rest assured that sunscreen products, and specifically the ingredients oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, are safe and effective when used as directed.Read More

  • FDA Issues New Sunscreen Labeling Rules

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued its long-awaited new rules for sunscreen labeling enabling consumers to more easily identify sunscreens that offer safe, effective protection from the sun’s cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. Find out how these changes to sunscreen labels affect you.Read More