Fourth of July weekend is upon us, and along with barbecue equipment, beach toys and sandals, don't forget to stock up on some sunscreen for the holiday.
Sun damage is responsible for 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the United States, itself the most common form of cancer in the country, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In fact, more than 3.3 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that consumers look for three things in their sunscreen: a "sun protection factor" (SPF) of 15 or more, "broad spectrum" protection and water resistance.
But with so many options on store shelves — not to mention an impending change in the way that sunscreens are labeled and rated — selecting the appropriate sun protection can be a confusing endeavor. On the one hand, the block is essential to prevent the skin’s absorption of damaging sun radiation that can cause free-radical damage and lead to skin cancer and premature aging. But new research has suggested that some chemicals found in leading sunscreen brands can actually increase the risk of some melanoma skin cancers. So what should you do?
We asked top dermatologists for their tips on what to look for as you stock up on your summer sunscreen supply:
This story was originally published May 2012, and has been updated.