Choosing a sunscreen should be simple, but the shelves are flooded with all kinds of new products and comparing them is complicated.
"If you use a sunscreen you want to make sure it says it blocks both ultraviolet "B"and "A" because both of them can result in the developments of skin cancers," says Dr. Greg Dwyer of the Little Rock Dermatology Clinic.
Dermatologist Dr. Greg Dwyer says ultraviolet "A" causes our skin to age and get discolored. "B" is what causes us to tan and also contributes to the high risk of skin cancer. Right now the SPF number on the label only indicates protection from ultraviolet "B".
The good news is that regulations will soon require that sunscreens tell if they block against UVA rays as well. Previously it was hard to tell if products gave broad spectrum protection against both kinds of ultraviolet light. A minimum SPF factor of 15 will become the new standard.
Products containing ingredients like ecamsule and avobenzone are new to the market and do a great job, but they're a little pricey. You can get the same protection from less expensive titanium dioxide or zinc oxide
"And despite the claims no product is truly water resistant, so if you're swimming or sweating apply sunscreen regularly and do it before you get outside," says Dr. David Lipschitz of the Longevity Center at St. Vincent.
Eventually all products that fail to meet the new broad spectrum guidelines will carry a warning label.