Setting the record straight on sunscreen

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Now that the summer has officially begun - having fun in the sun is a top priority.

By now, we all know we are supposed to wear sunscreen, but deciding which one can be overwhelming. There are so many choices out there, so many SPF's, different brand names or promises like being waterproof.

Dr. Lydia Parker of the Parker Skin & Aesthetic Clinic, says that you need an SPF of 30 or higher, broad spectrum protection and something that is water resistant.

"Thirty or higher is good, but what's really important is to look for broad spectrum protection - that SPF number tells you about protection from sunburning. It tells you nothing about protection from sun tanning, from getting skin cancer, from getting age spots. So you want a sunscreen that gives protection from the burning rays which is what the SPF number tells you as well as protection from tanning rays," said Parker.

Think you can put on your sunscreen and be good to go for the whole day? Wrong!

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 80 minutes.

Got a great base tan that you think will protect you from sun damage? This is dangerously wrong.

"If you are getting a tan, the tan is your body's response to injury, so if you've gotten a tan, you've done some damage, and you are increasing your skin cancer risk," added Parker.

What about the promise about waterproof? Your sunscreen will stay on even in the water, right? Wrong. No sunscreen is waterproof. Look for the words: water resistant.

"The FDA doesn't really want companies claiming waterproof because nothing can be totally waterproof, but water resistant will last longer," said Parker.

Also, spending more doesn't mean you get more protection. You should be able to find a low-cost sunscreen - just make sure it has an SPF of at least 30.

Better yet, purchase pure zinc oxide for protection that is chemical free and effective, according to Parker.

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