Sun protection is essential to prevent skin damage and skin cancer. When you're shopping for sunscreen, make sure it offers UVA and UVB protection. Check to see if it's waterproof or water-resistant. A waterproof sunscreen maintains its Sun Protection Factor level after 80 minutes of exposure to water, according to the Melanoma Foundation. A water-resistant sunscreen maintains its SPF level after 40 minutes of water exposure.
A sunscreen with a higher SPF doesn't necessarily mean it's better.
SPF blocks the ultraviolet B rays (UVB), which cause sunburns. The SPF number on a label refers to the product's ability to block the sun's harmful rays. For example, SPF 15 sunscreen allows a user to stay in the sun 15 times longer before burning. The average time it takes a person to burn without sunscreen is about 15 to 20 minutes, according to Americanskin.org. If you wear SPF 15, you'll be protected for 300 minutes, or 5 hours (SPF 15 x 20 minutes = 300 minutes).
SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks about 97 percent and SPF 45 blocks 98 percent, Skincancer.org says. Products with an even higher SPF don't offer much more protection. Remember, no matter what SPF you use, you do need to re-apply.
There are endless amounts of sunscreens out there. The Active Gear Scout tested these popular products to see how well they lasted during tough runs, swims, bike rides, boot camps and daily outdoor activities. From smell to protection, here are the results.Find more popular products on GearUp.