Watch CBS News

What You're Doing Wrong With Sunscreen As Summer Officially Starts

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Tuesday marked the official start of summer, which means more hot and sunny days along with the potential dangers for your skin. That has many health experts renewing warnings about the importance of sunscreen.

Doctors say choosing the wrong kind of sunscreen can be dangerous, allowing sunburns or exposure to toxic chemicals, but they say there are ways to safely enjoy fun in the sun.

With the official beginning of summer comes reminders about the importance of sunscreen to guard against skin cancer and premature aging.

"I definitely burn super easy," one woman said.

"Being younger, you think, 'Oh, I want to be tan, so I don't want to put sunscreen on,'" another woman said.

But research shows that tanning is potentially dangerous, providing a direct link to cancer.

"If you're outside, you're in the sun. We need sunscreens we can wear every day," dermatologist Dr. Eric Bernstein said.

Bernstein, a dermatologist in Admore, says the best sunscreen is the kind you wear, but there's a lot to choose from.

Physical sunblocks contain ingredients including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which can create a white appearance, and there are chemical sunscreens that block dangerous UV radiation. But the Environmental Working Group says some brands contain potentially dangerous chemicals.

"The chemical blockers often have chemicals that can mimic estrogen releases," Bernstein said.

The most dangerous ingredients are often found in spray sunscreens, which Bernstein doesn't recommend.

At the beach, he says it's best to use waterproof sunscreen.

"Generally, I recommend a 30 because there's a lot more chemicals in the 50s and they don't give you that much more protection and the key is to reapply sunscreen," Bernstein said.

Protective clothing that contains SPF is very helpful, along with sunglasses and hats to protect eyes.

It's not just about staying safe with summer activities.

"We get most of our sun driving around in our cars," Bernstein said. "Most of us spend 90% of our time outside in the car."

Doctors say that's why it's important to wear sunscreen every day, no matter what you're doing.

To help reduce sun exposure while driving, dermatologists suggest getting a special sun-protective clear window film installed in your car.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.