SPF 100 has arrived! Although some docs say the difference in protection between SPF 30 and SPF 100 is negligible, others argue every little bit helps. Why? Most people don't use enough sunblock (about a shot-glassful for the body) as often as they should (every two hours), so we don't get the SPF on the bottle, says David E. Bank, M.D., a derm in Mount Kisco, New York.
See our tips: How to stay safe in the sun!
The sweat factor
"Perspiration glistens, so it attracts more light onto skin," says Darrell Rigel, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center in New York City. "It also washes regular sunscreen off the skin." Research by Dr. Rigel found that golfers who wore water- and sweat-resistant SPF 70 had no burn after four hours, unlike those using a classic SPF 15.
Red alert: 17 percent of you rub sunscreen on only after skin begins to fry, a Self.com poll finds. C'mon, people! "Lotions with chemical sunscreens, such as Mexoryl or avobenzone, need to be applied 30 minutes before stepping in the sun for them to absorb UV rays," Dr. Bank says. If you want immediate defense, opt for physical blockers such as zinc oxide.
A UVA rating system
SPF measures protection against skin-sizzling UVB rays but not wrinkle-causing UVA rays, which are harder to gauge because they deeply penetrate the skin. Experts say the FDA is set to debut a system to rate UVA coverage (look for it on the label) and regulate the term broad spectrum, so you can finally figure out the best antiaging sun shield for you.
See our tips: Simple ways to get glowing skin!
These areas are surprise targets for sun damage.
Listen up! Ears are apt to burn and form skin cancer because they protrude and have hard-to-reach curves. Cover the sun-sensitive spots with Mission Skincare Anti-Sting Sunscreen SPF 30 Facestick, $9.
Melanoma on the scalp is twice as fatal as it is in other sites-it may escape notice-researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say. Use your head and hide beneath a hat with UPF (it's like SPF woven into fabric).
Women develop more melanomas on these limbs than anywhere else, according to the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. A mist or spray helps give you a leg up on total coverage. Try Clinique SPF 25 Body Spray, $20. --Abby Gardner
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