The top sun­screens for a cool sum­mer

Los Angeles Times - - MIND & BODY - By Alene Daw­son

The siz­zling sum­mer sun doesn’t have to keep you from en­joy­ing Cal­i­for­nia’s great out­doors, but be smart about it.

Even though there’s grow­ing aware­ness about the dam­age sun rays can cause, the rates of melanoma have been ris­ing for the last 30 years, said David An­drews, a se­nior sci­en­tist for the En­vi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group, a non­profit agency that spe­cial­izes in re­search and ad­vo­cacy.

One fac­tor is that sun­screen’s ef­fi­cacy isn’t just about us­ing it — but how you use it:

Pur­chase “Broad Spec­trum” UVA/UVBpro­tec­tion sun­screen. Use an SPF 30 or higher, but any­thing higher than 50 can be un­nec­es­sary and mis­lead­ing. Reap­ply about a shot-glass amount of sun­screen per area at least ev­ery two hours or im­me­di­ately af­ter swim­ming or heavy sweat­ing. And check the ex­pi­ra­tion date — prod­ucts that are too old should be tossed.

The good news is sun­screens are im­prov­ing, An­drews said, “but a crit­i­cal part of our mes­sag­ing is that sun­screen is not the en­dall or be-all, it’s not the magic bul­let or the magic cream that’s go­ing to make you in­vin­ci­ble to the sun’s rays, it’s a tool. It’s a piece of your sun-pro­tec­tion strat­egy that needs to in­clude sun-pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, hats and UV-pro­tect­ing shades.”

Avoid peak sun hours — about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — and stay in the shade.

Here are some of 2017’s top sun­screen picks from the EWG and Con­sumer Re­ports, and you’ll find more on­line at la­times.com/Health:

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