I get skin cancer every year, and believe me, it’s not pleasant. Fortunately, I “only” get basal cell skin cancer, which is not life-threatening. But I still have to get the skin cancer burned off or cut out. I’ve had it on my eyelid, my arms, my collarbone and my upper chest, and have the scars to prove it.
I get skin cancer now because I never used sun block growing up. In fact, I didn’t take skin cancer seriously until I was pregnant with my daughter. I was in my late thirties and an annoying bubble showed up on my eyelid! I had to wait to have it removed until I gave birth, then I had to walk around with an ugly black row of stitches on my eyelid until the surgery healed.
We did not know anything about skin cancer when we were kids. But today, there’s no excuse for not using sun block to protect yourself and your loved ones. Every year, Environmental Working Group analyzes the ingredients in sun block and recommends those that are the healthiest and most effective to use. I also try a variety of sun blocks every year. Here are seven brands both EWG and I recommend.
What SPF Rating Should You Look For? 30-50.
Keep it somewhere between 30 to 50. Properly applied, says EWG, SPF 50 sunscreen blocks 98 percent of sunburn rays, so a range of 30 to 50 will be highly protective. Any higher than that – say an SPF of 70 to 100 – won’t get you much more protection, but your skin could be exposed to unnecessary chemicals.
It’s also possible that the higher SPF rating is a phony claim. Stick to a rating of between 30 and 50.Don’t think because you’re using a higher SPF you can stay out in the sun longer. Most sunscreens protect against ultraviolet B rays, which are the ones that cause sunburn and non-melanoma skin cancers like mine. However, ultraviolet A rays are also in sunlight, and those are hard to block with most sunscreens. Unfortunately, ultraviolet A rays could actually cause more damage than B, so be sun smart to stay safe.
It’s still smart to stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. if possible, and you MUST re-apply the sunscreen every few hours. Also, wear protective clothing: hats with visors, sunglasses, airy but long-sleeved shirts, and pants, capris, or skirts. You can also wear t-shirts in the water – once you’re all wet, you won’t even notice you’ve got them on.
7 Healthy Sunscreen Brands
The good news is that 236 beach and sport sunscreens meet Environmental Working Group’s criteria for providing healthy sunscreen protection that is nontoxic and helps prevent sunburn. Here are seven that I personally have tried and found to be effective.
Note: We offer these sunscreens in our Amazon store, but you may also be able to find them in your local drugstore or grocery store. If you order them through us we earn a teeny-tiny commission that helps us continue to bring you this expert content at no cost whatsoever to you. Thanks.