Are You Wasting Money On Sunscreen?

Written by on May 28, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

Are You Wasting Money On Sunscreen?

Image via Petr Kratochvil at

You enter your neighborhood drug store or grocery store and as you pass by a huge display of sunscreen you toss a bottle or tube into your cart. It’s become a habit now. Everyone knows about the dangers of UV rays and you want to protect your family. But is that sunscreen really going to do the job or are you just wasting your money?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, nearly all skin cancers are caused by exposure to the Sun’s UVB rays. And if you have someone in your family who had melanoma then you’re 50% more likely to develop it yourself. The Sun’s UVA rays may not be quite so harmful in terms of skin cancers and melanoma, but these are the rays which cause those wrinkles and fine lines.

Using sunscreen is the best way to protect all the members of your family. But if you’re not using it properly, you’re wasting your money – and risking your family’s health.

Here are 8 tips for proper sunscreen use:

SPF Rating – The SPF rating only rates how well the sunscreen protects against UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen that says “Broad Spectrum Protection” on the label to ensure you’re protected from UVA rays, as well. Look for ingredients like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone and oxybenzone.

Protect Everyone, All the Time – Sitting in an office all day or spending an hour or so in the car on the way to the beach doesn’t mean you’re safe. Glass windows and clouds don’t stop those UVA rays. At the very least you should cover your face and hands with sunscreen every day before you leave the house.

Proper Coverage – If you’re not using the proper amount and covering all exposed areas of the body then you really are just wasting your money. The average adult needs to use approximately 1 ounce of sunscreen per application. Most dermatologists recommend an SPF 30 for the average user, but if you have a history of melanoma in your family you should choose a sunscreen with a higher rating.

Easy to Use – Kids hate standing still while you slather on the sunscreen. Make sure you choose a type that’s easy to use so you won’t be tempted to avoid the hassle and let them go outside without protection.

Avoid Insect Repellant – Be aware the most insect repellants will lower the SPF rating when used with sunscreen. Buy a sunscreen with a higher SPF rating than you’d normally need to make up the difference.

Water Resistant – “Water Resistant 40 minutes” means it stays on your skin for two 20-minute swims. “Water Resistant 80 minutes” means you’re covered for four 20-minute swims.

Apply Frequently – If you’re not swimming and you’re applying it properly, sunscreen should be re-applied every 2 hours.

Apply Early – The active ingredients in sunscreen take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to penetrate the skin. Don’t wait until the kids are running out the door to apply.

This is a guest post. Donna Anderson is a freelance writer who enjoys small-town living in rural Kentucky. She’s an active member of several online communities and enjoys taking part in discussions that focus on how real people can live real lives in this fast-paced world we all live in.


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