Are you using the right sunscreen? There was time it was hard to tell. Most people don’t realize that there are several different kinds of ultraviolet rays. Many sunscreens sold in the North America are only tested for one type of ray—and it’s the wrong one. Sunscreens were previously tested for how well they protected against Ultraviolet B rays. B rays are strongly associated with sunburns, but it’s Ultraviolet A rays that are believed to be the main culprit behind skin cancer and early aging.

If B rays sound more important to you, legislators agree. Sunscreen produced in the U.S. will now be judged based on how well the treatment protects against B rays. Any remaining sunscreen that only protects against A rays will have to carry a warning label that states that the product does not adequately protect against skin cancer. If you’re ever in the U.S., these new rules will make it easier to make the right buying choices when it comes to sunscreen.

Why this is Important

This rule change may not seem significant to you at first, but it’s something that could save millions of lives, not far down the line. Most people are aware that sun exposure has a strong correlation with skin cancer, but they may not realize just how strong that correlation is. The fact is that even one sunburn event in adolescence is enough to double your risk of skin cancer for the rest of your life.

Before this rule change, even the people who thought they were taking precautions may not have used effective sunscreen. Cancer may be the most serious effect of sun damage, but it isn’t the only one. Choose adequate protection when you go out in the sun, otherwise you may have to worry about…

Unwanted Growths

There are plenty of kinds of sun damage. Some are cancerous, while others are more unappealing and uncomfortable than dangerous. Either way, sun damage is marked by serious changes to the skin, including rough lesions, flesh discoloration, and what may appear to be warts. Proper use of good sunscreen is one of the most effective defenses against these problems.


Yes, wrinkles are also strongly associated with sun exposure. The constant effect of heat on the skin can damage blood vessels and the infrastructure of the skin. This can easily lead to saggy and wrinkled skin. Fortunately, there are treatments that can restore this skin, but it’s easier to just use proper protection when you’re out in the sun.

Aggravation of Skin Conditions

There are several conditions that can be seriously aggravated by sun exposure. Sun exposure can make these skin conditions worse, or nullify the effects of treatment. Melasma is one condition that is made worse by sun exposure. If you’ve had problems with a skin condition recently, you might want to ask your dermatologist for sun protection recommendations.