Tag Archives: summer

Decoding Different Types of Sunscreen

Daily sunscreen use is the best way to protect your skin from both the short-term and long-term effects of the sun. Yet choosing the right sunscreen can be confusing with all of the different products on the market.

Which sunscreens are best for your skin? Understanding the differences among sunscreen products can help you make the best choice for you.

Chemical vs. physical

To put it simply, there are two types of sunscreens: chemical blockers and physical blockers.  Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays while physical sunscreens sit on top of the skin and reflect harmful UV rays.

Chemical sunscreens are the big-brand products that you can easily find on most drugstore shelves. They usually contain ingredients such as octylcrylen, avobenzone, and octinoxate. While they may be widely available, they can also be more irritating to your skin, especially for those with sensitive skin, skin conditions, or acne-prone skin.

Physical sunscreens use natural ingredients like zinc and titanium oxide to block the sun’s rays. They have become more popular recently with consumers’ increasing concerns about chemical safety, but still aren’t as easy to find as chemical sunscreens, though they do have a longer shelf life. Physical sunscreens are more gentle on the skin and are recommended by dermatologists and pediatricians for those with sensitive skin or skin conditions, as well as for children and babies.

UVA vs. UVB rays

Both UVA and UVB rays can be harmful to your skin, but not all sunscreens block both types of rays. UVA rays are the ones that cause sun damage such as premature wrinkling and age spots. UVB rays are the ones that cause those red, painful sunburns. Too much long-term exposure to either UVA or UVB sunscreens can cause skin cancer. For the best protection, chose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, which will be labeled “broad spectrum.”


A sunscreen with SPF30 protects against 97 percent of the sun’s UV rays while an SPF50 blocks 98 percent : beyond that, the amount of extra protection is negligible. Higher SPF sunscreen products only add more chemicals that can irritate your skin and are usually more expensive. There are no products that offer 100 percent protection. That’s why all sunscreen labels remind you to reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

The bottom line

So which sunscreen is the best? Dermatologists recommend one that is broad-spectrum, contains SPF30, and is water-resistant. The brand or whether you choose a lotion or spray are personal preferences—what is most important is that you choose one that you will use on a regular basis.


Summer Produce: Enjoy Nature’s Bounty

Blueberries imported from Chile. Green beans imported from Mexico. Oranges imported from Spain. Modern shipping and storage technology has given us year-round access to any fruit or vegetable we might want at any time of year. However, this produce has often traveled thousands of miles to get to our plates, and as a result, it is not in its “first bloom of Summer Produce: Enjoy Nature’s Bountyyouth.”

Why buy imported when you can buy local? In the summer, nature’s goodness abounds, from local farmer’s markets to USConnect’s Bistro To Go!™ kiosks. Here’s your best guide to summer’s best fruits and vegetables.


Summer is the best time for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, which usually come into season in that specific order. From the first strawberries in May to the last raspberries of August, berries are full of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.

Pit Fruit

Peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums come into season in June and last throughout the summer. Packed with vitamins A and C, manganese, and potassium, pit fruits can last longer and travel better than local berries.


Although tomatoes are widely available year-round, the fresh tomatoes of summer bear little resemblance to the pale, mealy winter varieties. Slice them with some fresh basil, grill them, or chop them into a chilled gazpacho; their high level of lycopene will help keep your heart healthy.


Salads can be a healthy year-round meal, but the greens and lettuces of summer can’t be beat. Experiment beyond iceberg with darker, more flavorful greens like arugula, red leaf, and red Boston lettuce. The darker the leaf, the more nutrients like iron, folate, and vitamin K it will have.

Summer Squash

Summer squash and zucchini can be a little blah if just steamed, but try them on the grill with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or sauté them in olive oil with some sweet onions for a delicious side dish. They are a good source of fiber and vitamin B6

Green Beans

Green beans last a long time in cold storage, which means that by the time you buy them from the grocery store, they could already be a month old. That’s a great reason to buy them in the summer, when they’re fresh. Green beans are high in beta-carotene and omega-3s.