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During the summer months, many of us spend lots of time outdoors in the yard at the beach or by the pool.  While fun in the sun is great, here is what is not so much fun - sunburn. Sun exposure can also lead to premature wrinkling, age spots and worst of all, skin cancer,  the most common type of cancer in our country.

One of the best ways to protect ourselves is to wear sunscreen every single day. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the sun, zinc oxide is a great way to literally block the sun’s rays.  The words zinc oxide might conjure images of lifeguards with white noses. It's not the best look and most of us don't want to walk around with white cream on our face.  Now we don't have to, with more sunscreens offering clear zinc oxide.

Zinc oxide is a powdery mineral with a long history of use as sun protection. Unlike many chemical sunscreens, zinc oxide protects against UVA and UVB light rays and is often used as a natural, non-toxic sunscreen to prevent burns, signs of photo-aging and irritation. It is also used to create other products, such as foot powder,  diaper rash ointments and makeup.  Here's a list of some of the best clear zinc oxide sunscreens that won't make you look like the lifeguard.

Zinc Oxide

According to chiropractic doctor Josh Axe, Zinc oxide has been found to have the following uses and benefits:

  • Helping to lower skin inflammation associated with rashes, allergies or irritation (including diaper rash)
  • Providing broad-spectrum sun protection that prevents burns (including on photo-sensitive skin)
  • Providing protection from skin cancer
  • Improving wound healing and preventing bacterial infections
  • Aiding in recovery of burns and damaged tissue
  • Helping to treat acne breakouts
  • Keeping moisture locked into dry skin
  • Treating warts
  • Lowering inflammatory skin conditions
  • Preventing aging of the skin
  • Improving synthesis of collagen and forming of new connective tissue

Sunscreens

Thankfully, we do have a lot to choose from when it comes to picking a sunscreen that best suits our skin. However, Consumer Reports has its own idea about the sunscreen they believe is superior.

In terms of sunscreen lotions, La-Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk and Bullfrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50 were voted the best. La-Roche is a little more on the expensive side (roughly $30) compared to Bullfrog, but it depends on what you prefer. The other type of sunscreen that many people use regularly is spray. In this category, Consumer Reports voted Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ and Banana Boat SunComfort Clear UltraMist Spray SPF 50+ as the premier sunscreens. These sunscreens are on the cheaper side too which is really great.

The type of sunscreen you buy is just as important as how you use it. If you are spending a full day at the beach or pool, you need to re-apply it every 90 minutes to two hours, especially after going in the water.  As the sun continues to beat down on us this summer, remember the phrase "Re-Do in Two" to remind yourself to re-apply your screen and protect your skin.