10 Skin Cancer Mistakes Even Smart Women Make
1. Expensive Sunscreen
Think you know everything there is to know about sun safety? So did we, until we started asking experts about the most common summer slipups and realized (oops!) that we make 'em too. Here are the top 10 ways many skin-protection plans go wrong -- and everything else you need to know to stay safe under the sun.The Mistake: You grab the priciest sunscreen, figuring it's the best.
Cost doesn't necessarily indicate quality, says Vincent DeLeo, MD, chairman of dermatology at St. Luke's Roosevelt and Beth Israel Medical Centers in New York City. Some expensive sunscreens don't contain the key ingredients that can keep your skin safe, while some cheaper brands do.
Look for sunscreens with labels stating that they provide "broad-spectrum protection," which means they contain ingredients that block both UVA and UVB rays. UVBs are the primary cause of burning; but UVAs, in addition to burning the skin, penetrate deeper, causing genetic damage in cells and suppressing the immune system. Some experts believe that this may cause skin cancer -- even in areas that are not directly exposed to the sun, says Dr. DeLeo. Unlike UVBs, UVA rays can pass through glass and damage your skin while you're in the car or at your desk, so put on sunscreen if you'll be inside but near a window. Choose products with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or Parsol 1789 (avobenzone) -- the best ingredients for UVA protection.
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