How to pick the right sunscreen - WFSB 3 Connecticut

How to pick the right sunscreen

Posted: Updated:
(CBS photo) (CBS photo)
(CBS) -

It's important to use sunscreen to protect against skin cancer, but doctors said picking the right one can be challenging.

Taylor Marsh said she uses it daily. She said she looks at the SPF level first.

"I just go for something that’s really high, that’s clean, hypo-allergenic and fragrance-free," she said.

From creams to lotions to sprays, finding the right one can be difficult.

Dermatologist Darrell Rigel said the best kind is the one someone is actually going to use.

"Sprays are the most commonly used type of sunscreen," he said. "The problem is, with spray, you don't know where you missed. So we recommend you put two coats of a spray on."

The American Academy of Dermatology said look for broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. That's if the product doesn't have an expiration date. Most sunscreens last about three years.

"Sunscreen is not required to have expiration dates on it," Rigel said. "The one thing that really breaks sunscreen down is extreme heat, so if you leave it in your car, that will actually break the sunscreen down."

Rigel said most people don't use enough sunscreen and don't reapply as often as they should.

Experts said a shot glass full will cover the whole body and it should be reapplied every two hours.

Even if someone has darker skin, the risk for skin cancer remains.

Rigel said it's never too late to protect oneself, even if a person got too much sun as a child.

"The damage you get from the sun is cumulative," he said. "There's sort of meter running on your skin. It never really goes backwards, but if you can slow that meter down."

Sunscreen could improve a person's risk later on.

Experts recommended applying it before getting to the beach or pool. It takes a few minutes to kick in, especially if it's water-resistant.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.