Summer Sunscreen Protection Tips

Don't get burned twice

By Consumer Bob
|  Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010  |  Updated 10:16 AM PDT
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Sunscreen Costs Don't Have to Be Blinding

A skin doctor has some advice on which sunscreen to buy.
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Sunscreen is necessary but can be pretty expensive. Do you really get more for your money?

Talk to anyone who is fighting skin cancer and they'll tell you the hassle (and cost) now will save you lots of money down the line in doctor visits.

When you select your sunscreen this summer, consider this advice from San Diego dermatologist Peter Rullan.

  • Look for sunscreen with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide
  • Wear sunscreen of 30 SPF or greater
  • Don't use sunscreen sprays but lotions for greater protection
  • Use less expensive sunscreen for your legs, arms and back
  • Use more expensive sunscreen for your face

Rullan said you should apply sunscreen twice for the best protection.  If you're athletic you should reapply every two hours.

Rullan said most people don't worry about using sunscreen until they visit the doctor with skin cancer.  But the Scripps Mercy doctor said it is easy to explain why sunscreen is essential.  "A sunburn is like taking away the police in your city.  All the cells that protect you from cancer development are burned off with the sunburn," said Rullan.

One thing the skin doctor doesn't like is sunscreen that comes in a spray.

"It's an easy, convenient thing but it doesn't stay on you," said Rullan. "It goes out into the air, it goes in your neighbor's face more than your own skin. You need a thick layer not a convenient quick spray."

Also, check the date on that sunscreen. The FDA requires sunscreen last three years but if the bottle lasts that long, Rullan said, it's a sign you're not using enough.

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