Parent Survival Guide: Not all sunscreen is created equal

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the U.S.

One of the best ways to help keep your skin protected is by using sunscreen. But not all sunscreens are created equal.

With more people spending their days outside and in the sun comes exposure to ultra violet rays.

Dr. Todd Schlesinger with the Dermatology and Laser Center of Charleston says not only is using sunscreen important but the type of sunscreen you use.

“So that label you want to look at is broad spectrum, and if it’s water resistant. All sunblock is not created equal as for how long they stay on the skin,” says Schlesinger.

He says the amount of sunscreen you use is also important .

He recommends using an ounce, about the amount to fill a shot glass to cover any exposed areas on the body. Also, always reapply every hour and a half to two hours.

Schlesinger says also key is the SPF or sun protection factor on the label.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends at least an SPF of 50.

“Once you get to 30 or 50, you are maxed out as long as long as you apply and reapply when you are outside,” says Schlesinger.

He says look for a product that protects you from both you UVA and UVB rays.

“UVB rays are the rays that make your skin red. But UVA rays, which can pass through glass in a car, are the ones that go deeper and promote skin cancer,” says Schlesinger.

When outside, he says keep in mind that the sun is most direct between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“It’s very important to keep skin protected from the sun. That’s the number one thing,” says Schlesinger.

He says another thing to keep in mind with sunscreen is to use a cream or a gel instead of a spray.

Schlesinger says there are concerns with breathing in the particles from the spray form of sunblock, and sprays also don’t apply evenly.

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Photos: Getty Images

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