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How To Choose The Right Sunscreen

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She repor...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It appears the Twin Cities may see some sunshine this weekend, and a lot of people will be focused on soaking up whatever we get.

But it’s important to remember the consequences. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. While it’s good to get some vitamin D, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Here are some tips on how to choose the best sunscreens.

Only 25 percent of sunscreens on the market are both effective in protecting your skin from the sun and free of potentially harmful chemicals, according to the 2012 sunscreen guide released by the Environmental Working Group.

To make the watchdog’s safe list, products should not contain oxybenzone and a form of Vitamin A called retinyl palmitate. However, the American Academy of Dermatology says these chemicals have been tested and found to be safe.

Experts say sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” are the best choices. These products help protect people from both types of ultraviolet radiation — UVA and UVB rays. Each has been shown to cause skin cancer.

Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (or SPF) of at least 15, but generally no higher than 50.

Reapply every 2 hours and after you come out of the water. By the end of this year, sunscreens cannot claim to be “waterproof” or “sweatproof,” as it has been deemed a false claim. Instead, the label will have to read “water resistant” and the label also has to say “apply every two hours,” meaning it can no longer promise to “stay on all day.”

Even though sunscreens offer some protection from the sun, don’t forget to wear a hat and other protective clothing. Avoid the sun during peak hours and seek out the shade.

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