Whenever I buy sunscreen at the store, it becomes increasingly more confusing each summer. The SPF numbers are off the charts and not to mention the millions of application options. Some sunscreens you spray, others you rub on, and some are a combination of both. After all, I only want something that will keep me from looking like a lobster.

Simply put, sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. It contains ingredients that absorb or reflect these rays, preventing them from reaching your skin. Is it simple enough?

What are UV Rays?

UV rays can are divided into two main types: UVA and UVB. UVA rays can penetrate deep into the skin and contribute to premature aging and wrinkling, while UVB rays primarily affect the outer layers of the skin and are the main cause of sunburns.

Sunscreen typically contains chemicals or minerals that act as filters. Chemicals absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat, while minerals, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, reflect and scatter the UV rays away from the skin.

Sunscreen Application

When you apply sunscreen, it forms a thin protective layer on your skin's surface. This layer helps to reduce the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate and damage your skin cells.

Sunscreen Recommendations

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) on sunscreen labels indicates the level of protection against UVB rays. The higher the SPF, the longer the sunscreen can protect you from sunburn. To use sunscreen effectively, you should apply it generously to all exposed areas of skin at least 15-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you're swimming or sweating heavily. Remember to cover often overlooked areas like your ears, the back of the neck, and the tops of your feet; I always forget that one!

Best Remedies for a Sunburn in Montana

So you forgot the sunscreen or forgot to reapply and you fried your beautiful skin in the sun. Here are the best ways to fight the burn.

6 Unique Remedies for Treating Sunburn

Chances are you have a bottle of aloe vera gel somewhere in your house that you've likely had for years ready to be applied when you've spent a little too much time out in the sun and your skin feels (and looks) like the surface of the sun. Maybe it's in a medicine cabinet or a bathroom closet. Maybe you keep it in the door of the refrigerator so it's good and cold to help ease the pain of sunburn a little quicker. While it's a great and highly recommended way to care for your skin after a sunburn, there are other options in your house that can also do the trick.

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