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If you’ve been living on the planet for the past 10 years or so, you know by now that wearing sunscreen is a no brainer. The Center for Disease Control (and most dermatologists)  recommend the use of a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 which will protect skin against both UVA and UVB rays. I personally recommend products with an SPF 30 or higher, which will block out about 97% of the sun's UVB rays, affording greater protection from sun damage.

While UVB rays can be blocked by windows and are more of a concern during the hotter months, UVA rays can pass through window glass and are prevalent year round, even in the dead of winter. They also penetrate much deeper into the skin where they‘re more likely to cause longer term damage like skin aging (wrinkles, age spots, leathery and sagging skin), cataracts as well as some types of skin cancers. It’s the UVB rays that are primarily associated with sunburns.

So when choosing your potion of choice, opt for either a chemical (meaning that it will react with your skin’s top layers to reflect the sun) or physical (meaning it sits on top of your skin) blocker that delivers. Great choices include:

1. Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which are effective UVA and UVB blockers but that can sometimes leave you feeling ghostlike with a white sheen. Newer micronized versions tend to downplay that.
2. Avobenzone (Parsol 1789) a wonderful UVA blocker, but it breaks down quickly when exposed to the sun so must be stabilized with another chemical like octocrylene.
3. Mexoryl SX or Mexoryl XL which are UVA blockers and often combined with other sun filters to give great UVA and UVB protection. The Mexoryls are also photostable, meaning they won’t break down in the sun. Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL may be found in the Anthelios range of sunscreens at
4. Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M are also great UVA and UVB blockers as well as being highly photostable.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and wellness issues facing women as they age. She operates an anti-aging skin store at [Link Removed] 

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