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Everything you ever wanted to know about sunscreen is now in one place

July 14, 2011 | 11:02 am

UVA, UVB, SPF. It seems like the more experts find out about sun damage, the more confusing buying and applying sunscreen gets.

Which is why we're loving a comprehensive new infographic, the Sunscreen Smokescreen, recently published from that demystifies what we need to be wearing to keep our skin protected and why.

The charticle starts by breaking down the types of ultraviolet light, and how they affect our skin and overall health. But that's just the beginning. The exhaustively researched graphic actually spells out how long and how comprehensively sunscreens with varying SPFs remain effective.

The graphic also debunks outdated sun care wisdom, such as applying sunscreen every two hours in the sun; the current recommendation is to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure, then 30 minutes after exposure and then again after sweating or swimming.

It also details the three types of skin cancers and what types of rays cause them, and the upward trend of melanoma cases in the U.K., U.S. and Australia (only the U.S. has seen a slight dip in melanoma cases recently, and in Australia the cancer is spiking.)

We perhaps found the chart on harmful ingredients in sunscreen the most educational. We've heard that oxybenzone -- an ingredient that aids in the absorption of other ingredients and is found in more that 850 sunscreens on the market -- is not so hot for our health. But we never really knew why. Turns out the toxic stuff is an immune system disruptor that accumulates in the body.

Knowledge is power, so get educated here.

-- Emili Vesilind

Photo: A small part of a long infographic by Credit: