Protect your skin with a good sunblock

Given the health risks associated with overexposure to the sun's UV rays, it's important that you use sunscreen whenever you're going to be out in the sunshine for an extended period of time. Sunscreen and sunblock can counteract and neutralize the harmful effects of sun exposure, which can include everything from sunburns and skin spots to faster-than-normal aging and even skin cancer.

Sunscreen products are rated by a metric known as sun protection factor (SPF). The higher a given sunscreen lotion's SPF, the better the protection it offers. Dermatologists suggest that you use a sunscreen or sunblock with an SPF of at least 15, and to choose a product with a higher protection factor if you have fair skin, burn easily or are exposed to a lot of sunshine.

Differences between Sunscreen and Sunblock

While both sunscreen and sunblock are able to counter the effects of both UVA and UVB radiation from the sun, they are not – as many people erroneously believe – the same thing. Sunscreen has increased transparency and is favored by people who want to get a suntan while still protecting their skin. In order for it to be maximally effective, though, it must be regularly reapplied as its protective properties break down fairly quickly.

Sunblock, though it uses many of the same compounds and ingredients as sunscreen, offers superior protection. While sunscreen is transparent, sunblock has opacity and does not have to be reapplied nearly as often. However, it won't do your suntan any favors.

Choose a Quality Sunscreen Lotion or Sunblock

Doctors recommend that you apply sunscreen or sunblock to all exposed areas of skin, and to choose a product with a higher SPF if you prefer sunscreen. You should also wear long clothing when you're out in the sun if possible, or even wear specially designed sun blocking clothing.

You should also select a product that is specially formulated to provide specific protective properties. For example, infants have especially sensitive skin and should be protected with baby sunscreen. You can also get special face sunscreen designed to more effectively preserve a youthful appearance and prevent wrinkles and premature aging. Both sunscreen and sunblock are available in different forms, with the most popular being lotions and sprays. Whether you prefer to apply lotion or like the ease of spray sunscreen, selecting a product with a proper SPF is the most important consideration.

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