The calendar indicates it’s spring, but many parts of the country are still recovering from the remnants of winter. Here in South Florida it’s already starting to feel like summer and that means it’s time to think about sunscreen. Unfortunately, sunscreen has become one of those products that has started to confuse people. There are so many different variations of it on the market; it’s difficult to know what’s necessary, what’s a nice perk and what’s down right superfluous. On top of that, there is a lot of misinformation fluttering about. So today, let’s try to put some misconceptions to rest.
DO I THROW OUT LAST YEAR’S SUNSCREEN?
No. Most sunscreens have a lifespan of about three years. However, if your sunscreen lasts all summer, chances are you’re not applying enough. You should be using one shot glass size amount of sunscreen to cover your body. And you should also reapply every two hours or after a long swim.
IS ORGANIC SUNSCREEN BETTER THAN REGULAR SUNSCREEN?
No. Truthfully, there’s no such thing as organic sunscreen. For a product to truly be certified “organic,” all of its ingredients must be of food grade organic quality, which means they must be edible. And while there are some organic products, like shea butter, that have some sun protective qualities, none can truly be considered sunblock-worthy. There’s no such thing as an effective “chemical free” sun protection product, and that’s okay. In reality what you need to avoid are toxins, not chemicals.
IS IT OKAY TO BUY GENERIC SUNSCREEN?
Yes. Everybody wants to feel like their skin is well protected, but that doesn’t mean you have to spring for the most expensive bottle. Just because a sunscreen is more expensive or a well-known brand doesn’t mean it’s the best product available to protect your skin. Price doesn’t necessarily mean quality or safety. As long as it’s a broad-spectrum product with SPF, it’s all about personal preference.
IS THE SPRAY AS GOOD AS THE LOTION?
Yes. Lotions and sprays are both equally effective in protecting you from the sun. Like generic vs. brand name, it’s all about personal preference. If you like the product, you’re more likely to use it, and that is most important. A word of caution about sprays, though. You may not be using enough. People tend to spray themselves for about half as long as is necessary to get equal coverage from a spray as they do with a lotion, making it less effective. So if you’re going to use a spray, spend double the time spritzing yourself as you think you should.
WILL A HIGHER SPF SUNSCREEN PROTECT MY SKIN BETTER?
Not necessarily. If you’re confused about the sun-protection factor, you’re not alone. It’s logical to think an SPF 30 product would be twice as effective as an SPF 15 one, but that’s not the case. An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97%; and an SPF 45 blocks about 98% of rays. If a higher number’s going to make you feel better, go for it. But keep in mind there’s no way to block out 100% of the sun’s rays with sunscreen. And it won’t change the fact that you’ll need to reapply.
Choosing a sunscreen these days is like choosing something to watch on TV – there are just so many options! But hopefully this information will make the selection process a little easier. If you’re ready to stock your beach bag for the summer, stop in to see us at VH Pharmacy. Our trained staff can help you make the best sunscreen choice for you and your family.
ABOUT VH PHARMACY: VH Pharmacy is a family-owned and operated neighborhood pharmacy. In business for more than 40 years, VH Pharmacy has been under the leadership of Pharmacist Eddy Blanco for the past 11 years. With his extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical compounding, Eddy Blanco has transformed VH Pharmacy into a technologically cutting-edge facility. To learn more about our services, please visit our website at www.vhpharmacyrx.com or call us today at (305)324.8777.