Number 1 reason? Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer is going up.  Sunscreen helps.  Here's some tips...

-Pick a sunscreen you like.  If a sunscreen seems pasty, thick or smelly, it may not be the right one for you.  If you object so much, you'll be less likely to use it or to reapply when you should.  There are plenty of lightweight, sheer formulas on the market.  Find the one that suits you.

-Remember, SPF 30 is the new 15.  As a general rule, SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 blocks 98%.  Doctors now recommend at least 30.  With a family history of skin cancer, go with 50 or even 70.  Reapply, use a waterproof type if you'll be in the water and remember, the stuff becomes less effective about 3 years after you open the container. 

-Check the label for the term, "broad-spectrum."  It means the sunscreen provides protection against both UVA (wrinkle and cancer-causing) and UVB (burning) rays.  If there's no mention of the term, "broad spectrum," check the ingredients for zinc and avobenzone.  Those are the 2 that provide the coverage you're looking for.

-Layer it on.  Think you apply enough?  Almost no one does.  Studies show that most of us only put on about a fourth of what we should to reach the labeled SPF.   Instead of the old advice...a shot glass sized dose, now experts suggest TWO COATS.  For your face, apply a pea-sized drop to each cheek, your forehead and chin, then smear. 

-Don't forget your nose.  It's the most sunburned place.  80% of skin cancers are removed from the nose.

-Get anti-oxidant insurance.  Vitamin supplements C and E and green tea help mitigate damage.

-Realize that sunscreen is only a part of your plan.  Seek shade and wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.


-Know that it's never too late to start safe habits.  Since skin's ability to repair itself decreases with age, your risk is greater every day.

Come on...smear!  DaveT