Dermatologist's Answers: What SPF is best? Why can't I use last year's sunscreen?

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - After what seems like months of waiting for the sun, it's back. While that time went by, the sun screen stored in your bathroom was losing its strength.

Dr. Brian Raphael of Empire Dermatology says, "Just get another bottle. It should be regular, just like you're getting your food, your pantries, your bread. Every few weeks, you should be getting new sunscreen."

To answer the question he gets most often from his patients, Dr. Raphael says SPF 30 is best.

He says, "Anything above 30 protects at least 97% of the UV rays that the sun emits. Therefore, there's very little it doesn't protect you from and that's the important part."

He says you can go higher, but there's very little additional benefit above SPF 30.

The dermatologist says the biggest mistake his patients make is not reapplying sunscreen often enough. It should be ever two hours, no matter what activity you're doing.

He says you should be using a shot glass worth of sunscreen for each application.

When it comes to brands, Raphael sells EltaMD in his office, but also recommends La Roche-Posay, Vanicream and Blue Lizard, available in most stores like pharmacies.

Look for zinc or titanium as an ingredient, which provides a better barrier from the sun.

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