July 14, 2010 -- We all know the sunscreen basics -- you need to put sunscreen on half an hour before going outside, and that you should reapply every hour or two -- but there are new ways to keep track of your sun exposure and make sure you don't fry.
Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in five people will develop skin cancers over the course of their lives, which means it's more important than ever to protect yourself from the sun, says Dermatologist Jeanine Downie.
Downie appeared on "GMA" to talk about the best ways -- from high-tech gadgets to the best sunscreen -- to avoid sunburns and skin cancer this summer.
CLICK HERE for the Web Takeaway for Downie's top picks for sunscreens.
This app from the sunscreen maker helps take the guesswork out of sun protection, by measuring the UV index or the amount of time a fair person could be in the sun, without sunscreen, before burning. The app, designed to work on the new iPhone 4 platform, offers sunscreen reapplication reminders tailored to each family member's outdoor activity and personal preferences. You can customize it with a choice of sounds. It's the only free app of its kind to help parents keep track of their kids' sun protection to help prevent sunburns.
But if you're sweating, all bets are off. If you're playing a sport, you should still wear protective clothing, and reapply lotion on your face, even if it doesn't soak in.
UV Sunsense Wristband:
If you're swimming, playing a sport, or doing something where you can't keep a hold of your phone, there are wristbands that let you know when you need to reapply sunscreen or get out of the sun.
Designed to be used with a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, the wristband alerts you to potential excessive exposure as you work or play in the sun. It starts off yellow, turns purple with initial exposure, then goes to light tan to remind you to apply sunscreen, and finally light yellow to tell you it's time to get out of the sun.
Sun Protection Zone's Solarsafe's UV Sun Monitor Wristbands also warn when to re-apply sunscreen and when to seek shade. They're also easy to use, waterproof, and simple to wear and monitor.
Protective Clothing with SPF
If you're not swimming, keep yourself covered with a tightly-woven wide-brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses and a beach cover-up. A tightly-woven linen or cotton cover-up with long sleeves and pants is best. Darker/brighter colors provide more sun protection than white or pale colors. Many beach shops carry options that will keep you protected and stylish. Brightly-colored long sarongs are another good option for women. Columbia Sportswear and UVA Skinz are two brands with SPF protection.
Sun Umbrellas with SPF
When it's time to take a break from the sun, a sun umbrella is a nice respite, but not all of them actually protect you from the sun.
Rio was the first beach umbrella manufacturer to make and sell umbrellas with authorized sun protection factor ratings. With an SPF of 50 or more, they're approved for use and recommended by the American Skin Cancer Foundation.
Choosing the Best Sunscreen
1. Use a generous amount (2 tablespoons or more) of water-resistant sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 all over. The sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before heading outside and reapplied every two hours (or every hour in southern states) and after swimming or sweating excessively.
2. The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try an early morning or late afternoon trip to the beach.
Web Extra: Which Sunscreen for What
After years of caring for skin, Downie has developed a few favorite suncreens for different occassions.
For the Face
Downie prefers the Skin Medica SPF 50 for the face because she said it "rubs right in, is non-greasy and will not block your pores or break you out.
Skin Medica Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50
M.D. Forte Sunblock SPF 30
Aveeno Positively Ageless SPF 90
For the Body
Whether you're swimming or chasing after a volleyball, Downie likes Neutrogena Sport Spray SPF 70 to protect your body. "It's thick and clings to sweaty skin but does not need to be reapplied during and after all activities like most other sunblocks," she said.
Ocean Potion SPF 50 or Above With Antioxidants
Neutrogena Sport Spray SPF 70
For the Kids
Downie prefers Aveeno Babies SPF 55 for use on kids because it is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and non-irritating even to sensitive skin. "I still use this on my daughter and she's 7," she said.
Aveeno Babies SPF 55CLICK HERE for more information on choosing the right sunscreen.
CLICK HERE for more information from the Skin Cancer Foundation.