Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Best for Protection Against the Sun's Rays

 By: Cate Stevenson
With so many sunscreen products on the market, you may be confused about which ones offer the best protection. This health e-letter is going to give you some health advice about which sunscreen is the best for maintaining healthy, cancer-free skin. A recent study has shown the importance of selecting a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin against tumors and early aging.

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge, NJ, conducted the study on sunscreens and antioxidants. The study, published in the "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology," found that, in addition to protecting the skin from the ultraviolet (UV) exposure that causes skin cancer, current broad-spectrum sunscreen products offer protection against free radicals, too. Free radicals are those molecules that attack your body's defenses and cause skin damage and aging.

Previous health news has likely informed you about the dangers of free radicals. Environmental exposure such as UV radiation, pollution, and smoking can all contribute to the development of free radicals in your body. When you have young, healthy skin, your body uses a sophisticated defense system to absorb free radicals. However, once you begin the aging process, this defense system can be depleted. When your body's own defense isn't working as it should, free radicals build up from UV exposure and other environmental sources, leading to skin damage and wrinkles.

Good to know that the results from this latest study show that a product with high ultraviolet A (UVA) protection blocks or absorbs more harmful radiation from the UVA spectrum AND reduces the total amount of free radicals generated in the skin. Making sure you choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects your skin from both types of rays is very important.

Adding antioxidants to sunscreen is an innovative approach that could represent the next generation of sunscreens. These sunscreens would not only filter UV radiation, but also offer other tangible skin health benefits. A broad-spectrum sunscreen combined with antioxidants could boost your body's natural defense against the formation of UVA-induced free radicals, adding, in effect, a second layer of protection against the UV radiation that passes through the first layer of UV protection.

The researchers concluded their study by saying thatantioxidants added to sunscreens is an exciting area of research. However, they stress that further study is needed to gauge the benefits of such a combination.
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