Updated: Jul 29
Over the last 30 years the number of skin cancer cases , specifically Melanoma, has tripled; not only with the older population but with the younger population as well. As other common cancer rates have significantly declined, skin cancer has not.
Sunscreen is a key contributor in sun protection strategy. When sunscreen is used as direct it is proven to decrease the risk of skin cancer and skin pre-cancers, in addition to helping prevent premature skin aging.
It is recommended that regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce the risk of developing Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) by roughly 40% and lower the risk of Melanoma by 50%. Daily use of sunscreen also prevents premature skin aging caused by UV rays, which include wrinkles, sagging and age spots.
There are two types of sunscreens; one has ingredients that are natural, referred to as mineral or physical sunscreen, and one has ingredients that are chemical based. Both sets of ingredients help to prevent UV radiation from reaching your skin.
Physical or mineral sunscreen ingredients include the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These minerals help to block and scatter UV rays before they penetrate your skin.
Chemical sunscreen ingredients include the chemicals avobenzone and octisalate. These chemicals absorb the UV rays before they can damage your skin.
Both types of sunscreens have been tested to be safe and effective. However, it is more likely that chemical sunscreens can cause skin irritation for those with sensitive skin. Many sunscreens are a combination of both chemical and mineral ingredients.
In order to help you select sun-safe products, look for the Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation.