Rows upon rows of sunscreen products fill area pharmacy sections, but it will be a little bit easier to choose the correct product this summer.
Sunscreen packaging is changing due to mandates from the Food and Drug Administration that require more transparency. They went into effect in December.
Terms such as "sunblock" or "waterproof" can no longer be on the labels.
That's because they can be misleading.
Now, packages that tout water resistance must be effective in water for up to 40 or 80 minutes, which is proven through testing.
It's all part of an effort to get people to properly use sunscreen by choosing products that offer protection and to remember proper usage.
Dr. Ty Hanson, an Aberdeen dermatologist, said it's all right to enjoy the sun and summer activities, but to be smart while doing it.
He advises everyone to apply sunscreen every day.
"It should be just like brushing your teeth," he said.
The recommended minimum is a sun protection factor of 30, but items with a factor of less than 15, such as tanning oils, will have warnings. Having SPF on the label doesn't necessarily mean protection from harmful rays, Hanson said.
Hanson said a product should explicitly state that is broad spectrum, meaning it protects the user from both types of rays.
With the new mandates, it will be easier for buyers to see which sunscreens are broad spectrum.
The dermatologist-recommended SPF 30 for everyday use blocks 97 percent of UVB rays.
"Many sunscreens will have stabilizers in them with the higher SPF," Hanson said. "They hang around longer, but don't block many more rays."
That doesn't mean higher SPF isn't useful. Users should just let go of the notion that double the SPF means double the protection, Hanson said.
"Just don't buy SPF 100 and think you're good for a week," Hanson said.
It's important to remember to liberally apply sunscreen and to use about the volume of a shot glass or golf ball each time, he said. An average container should be used up by a family during a day of outdoor activities, he said.
Hanson said he has been seeing younger people with cases of skin cancer.
Aerosol sprays are convenient, but users should remember to use their hands to rub in the product, Hanson said.