When the temperature spikes over 100 degrees, most people stay indoors where the air conditioner works double-time. However, there are those brave Arizona golfers who won’t let the sweltering sun get in the way of their game. When braving the sun, the number one thing that should be on your mind is sunscreen. Whether you are relaxing poolside or playing a round of golf, sunscreen is a must! With so many products out there, how do you choose a sunscreen that won’t melt off in the heat and will actually protect your skin from harmful UV rays? We have broken down how to compare sunscreens and choose the right one for you.
Why Use Sunscreen?
Sunscreen works as a protection against sunburns and sunburns can cause skin cancer. All it takes is one sunburn to make your skin more susceptible to skin cancer, so just imagine how susceptible you can be if you obtain sunburns over and over again. Skin cancer is the most common of ALL cancers, with about 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year. To put it into perspective, adding up all the cases of the big four cancers – breast, colon, prostate, lung – doesn’t even equal HALF the number of skin cancer cases. Research estimates that one American among every five will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. With such staggering statistics, why not take the time to slap on some lotion to protect yourself?
Reading the Labels
There’s a lot of information to absorb on all the different sunscreen products. When searching for the perfect sunscreen, look for the words broad-spectrum. This means that the sunscreen protects you from both the UVA and UVB light rays the sun creates. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin causing wrinkling, dark spots, and premature aging. UVB rays affect the outer layers of skin causing sunburns and damaging skin DNA, which causes skin cancer. This chart from skincancer.org lists the FDA-approved UV ray absorbing ingredients.
Once you find the broad-spectrum sunscreens, the next thing you need to look at is the SPF, or the sun protection factor, against UVB rays. This is a number on the bottle which indicates how long it takes (in minutes) for skin that has been covered in sunscreen to be burned, compared to skin that hasn’t been covered. A lot can affect this number, such as how thoroughly the sunscreen is applied or contact with water. Even though you may think an SPF of 30 provides twice as much coverage as 15, it’s only slightly more protection. SPF 15 filters out about 93% of UV radiation, SPF 30 filters out about 97%, and SPF 50 filters out about 98%.
Then there’s water resistant. Usually “water resistant” means that the SPF will work for up to 40 minutes while you are wet, like with swimming or sweating. “Very water resistant” keeps the SPF longer, usually 80 minutes.
Brands and Usage
The brand of sunscreen does not matter so much as the ingredients, the broad-spectrum coverage, the SPF, and how you use the product. For athletes, lotions and sprays are the lightest weight and easiest to re-apply on the go. For those with dry skin, a moisturizing cream may be better. Sticks are usually good for hard to reach or sensitive areas, like around your eyes and on top of your nose, while gels work well on the scalp and on hairier areas. It’s important to select a sunscreen you like because you will be more inclined to use it and you will be protected.
No matter what brand of sunscreen you are applying, follow these tips:
- Apply the first layer 15 minutes BEFORE sun exposure, on sunny AND cloudy days.
- Sunscreen needs to go everywhere that is exposed – ears, nose, scalp, fingers, etc.
- Don’t forget sunscreen on your lips or use an SPF lip balm.
- Reapply every two hours, regardless of SPF. Then reapply as soon as you get out of the water.
- If using a spray, apply generously since you can’t really see where it’s going. Don’t inhale the product.
No matter if you are hitting the greens or spending a leisure day outside your AZ golf home, stay protected with sunscreen and stay safe out there!
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255