Protect yourself: Not all sunscreens are safe

Whether you’re lighter-skinned, darker-skinned, or somewhere in the middle, protecting your skin from the sun is important.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. One in five Americans will develop it by the age of 70 and more than two people die from skin cancer every hour.

Using sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Always look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.

Also, aim for sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. However, that’s not all you need to look for.

It turns out, some of the ingredients in sunscreen can cause cancer.

Recent studies show some popular sunscreen brands contain toxic chemicals such as oxybenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene. These chemicals can disrupt hormones in the body and can lead to reproductive problems and cancer. These chemicals can be detected on the skin and in the blood weeks after being used.

Also, try to avoid the chemical benzene. When researchers tested sunscreen from more than five dozen manufacturers, they found that 27 percent of them contained the carcinogen, even though benzene was not a listed ingredient. Experts recommend using mineral-based sunscreens that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient.

The environmental working group keeps a close watch on sunscreens and puts out the best and worst list each year. You can check out to see if your favorite sunscreen is safe.

Remember, no sunscreen is waterproof or sweatproof. This is why you should re-apply every two hours or after getting out of the water.

Also, remember the teaspoon and shot glass rule. Use a teaspoon of sunscreen to cover your face and a shot glass full to cover the rest of your body.