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Health Tip: Choosing the Right Sunscreen

Buy one with an SPF of at least 15

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(HealthDay News) -- Walk into many drugstores, and you'll see a host of sunscreen products promising to protect you from skin cancer and similar dangers. But which do you choose?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these recommendations when buying sunscreen:

  • Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15.
  • If you expect to be sweating heavily, opt for a waterproof brand.
  • Look for sunscreen made for the face or something that won't sting.
  • If you are sensitive to the chemical PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), make sure the sunscreen you buy doesn't contain it.
  • If you have oily or acne-prone skin, choose water-based sunscreen.
  • Don't opt for one brand just because it's more expensive. It's not necessarily better.
  • Check the expiration date.


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