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Tips For Buying Sunscreen This Summer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If you're going to spend time at the pool or anywhere outside this summer, sunscreen is a must, but what is the best type to buy to protect your skin?

New Consumer Reports testing shows SPF shouldn't be your only concern.

Summer in Minnesota means lake time pool time and sunscreen time. Greg Johnson of Eden Prairie spent his lunch hour jogging.

"I use a Banana Boat product, 50 SPF, and I put it on every time when I run," he said.

But what some of us apply seasonally should be a year-round affair, according Dr. Elizabeth Farhat, a dermatologist with Allina Health.

"Often people think, 'It's not hot out, I don't need sunscreen,'" she said. "But even then when it's in the 50s and 60s like it's been recently, you still need to get that sunscreen on."

Dr. Farhat says that goes for winter too.

"The snow actually reflects the sun, so people get burned even when it's 30 below," she said.

Another misconception she says is that those with dark complexion don't need protection.

Addis Ashenafi lives in Apple Valley.

"Where I came from, it's not an issue," he said. "I'm from Africa. We're exposed 365 days with sun, so I have no issue."

Dr. Farhat says it can be, even if you've never had a sunburn.

"Even people with darker skin, you still have the potential for getting skin cancer," she said. "I've seen skin cancer in all different races."

She also says cars are hot spots for the sun -- UVA rays go right through windshields, and can even bounce right off smart screens.

"iPads and iPhones reflect the sun and can increase your sun exposure by 20 to 30 percent," she said. "If you are using one of those tablets you need to reapply more often."

She recommends everyone apply a SPF 30 or more 365 days a year, because no climate and no person is immune to the sun.

Consumer Reports just broke down which sunscreens work best. They say there's really not much of a difference between a SPF 30 and an SPF 100 -- you need to make sure it's a broad spectrum with UVA and UVB protection.

Think of it as brushing your teeth, Dr. Farhat said -- just something that's part of your daily routine.

If you hate the feel, you can even find a hat or clothing with SPF built in.


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