Each year nearly 5 million Americans get treated for skin cancer. You can avoid being one of these people by taking some simple steps to limit your exposure to the sun's harmful rays.

One thing you can do is wear sunscreen. But what SPF is best for your skin type? You want to wear the right strength to protect your skin from getting burned or experiencing deeper damage.

Use this guide to help you buy the proper UV protection from the sun.

What SPF Is Best?

The best sun protection should protect you from both UVA and UVB sun rays. The UVB rays are the ones responsible for giving you sunburns. The UVA rays are the ones that cause much deeper damage beneath the skin and aging.

You need to read the labels of sunscreen carefully. The SPF rating only tells you how good the sunscreen is at blocking UVB rays. There is no rating system for blocking UVA rays.

This doesn't mean you're left exposed, though. Read the ingredients on the sunscreen and look for avobenzone or zinc oxide. Both of these block UVA rays.

For the most protection, you want at least 3% avobenzone or 15% zinc oxide.

What Is Your Skin Tone?

The best range of SPF to use is between 15 and 50. If you have a darker skin tone, then you can use a lower SPF. This is because there's more melanin in the skin, which offers natural sun protection.

The safest SPF level for everyone to start at is a SPF of 30. Just because you don't burn easily doesn't mean you're protected from damage. If have sensitive skin that burns easily, then opting for SPF 50 is a smarter move. Also don't forget your lips can also suffer from sun damage. Wearing a lip balm with SPF will help prevent sunburn.

Be Careful of Sunscreen over SPF 50

While sunscreen that is higher SPF is better, there is a point of diminishing returns. Once you get to sunscreen over SPF 50, the benefits become only marginally better. What's worse is that you may get lulled into a false sense of security and stay out in the sun longer than you should.

A better option is to apply a lower SPF more often. Then you have more consistent and effective protection.

Go Beyond the Sunscreen

Don't solely depend on sunscreen to protect you from the sun. You can wear water resistant, sun protective clothing.

UPF Ratings

This is a rating system used for clothing that is similar to SPF ratings. The major difference is that UPF ratings signify protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

A baseline rating of 15 or 20 will give you decent protection. Ratings of 25, 30, or 50 will provide you with a good amount of protection. For the best protection, though, opt for clothing with a rating of 40 through 50+.

Protect Your Skin from the Sun

When it comes to the most important sun protection factor for your skin, wearing sunscreen is essential. But there are some situations where you don't want to wear sunscreen, or it isn't enough. That's when wearing UPF clothing is an ideal choice.

When determining what SPF is best, think about your skin tone and your intended activity. This will help you choose the right method of protection.

Browse our selection of UPF clothing and protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays.

January 13, 2023 — Gabriella Lowell