What type of sunscreen should I be using?

The most important thing to look for when buying sunscreen is the term broad-spectrum. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Anyone over the age of 6 months should use sunscreen daily to help lower their risk of skin cancer and to protect their skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that lotions and moisturizers that have an SPF of 15 are generally sufficient for those who do not spend a lot of their day in the sun. However if you work outdoors, or are vacationing outdoors, you need to use sport or water-resistant sunscreen with a higher SPF.

Using the sunscreen properly is just as important as what type you are using. Most sport or beachwear sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours. To get the actual amount of SPF advertised on the bottle you should also apply about one ounce, or about a shot glass full. Studies suggest that most people use half or even a fourth of the recommended amount.

Even with properly applied sunscreen, you are still at risk for sun damage. Be sure to wear protective clothing and when possible seek shade during the middle part of the day when the sun is at its peak and UV rays are the strongest.

For more information, contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org, or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.

ä Internet Resources:

The Skin Cancer Foundation


Be Safe in the Sun – American Cancer Society


This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.