SPF, UVA, UVB. Sunscreens are all about alphabet soup. A few tips will help you navigate the murky waters and find your perfect sunscreen.

Two kinds of light in the sun’s rays cause most of the damage to your skin:

UVA – the dominant tanning ray

UVB – chief source of reddening and sunburn

The SPF (sun protection factor) refers only to protection against UVB, and you want an SPF factor of at least 30. The words “broad spectrum” often mean coverage for UVA as well. Read labels carefully!

In addition, visible light can contribute to facial melanoma or bronzing in women. Look for products that contain iron oxide.