Sunscreen: what's effective and what's not

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SHERMAN, Texas -- As the temperatures heat back up after a cold front in Texoma, News 12 shares how to best protect yourself from harmful sun rays and what products can get that job done -- and the ones that you might want to avoid.

It's an important topic especially when you say the words "skin cancer."

"If I'm outside for over an hour I at least put on SPF 30," Justin Abate tells News 12.

Some products on the market claim that you might not have to slather on that SPF anymore and instead take a pill to protect against the sun.

The brands include Murad, Heliocare and Sun Assure.

But are the companies' claims true?

News 12 asked Dermatologist Creed Stewart at Texoma Dermatology Clinic in Sherman to find out.

"Just like a lot of other gimmicks, there's not really a lot of truth to it [blocking UVA/UVB rays]," Stewart said. "I don't think I'd recommend taking one of these pills and not putting on sunscreen."

Sun Assure and Heliocare both have disclaimers that say the pill shouldn't be taken instead of sunscreen, but rather as a daily supplement to help protect skin from the sun.

Murad suggests it "optimizes your SPF products."

We asked Stewart what the pills really do.

"What they do is they have antioxidants, so they claim to increase the antioxidants in your skin and therefore protect against ultraviolet radiation," he said.

Stewart says he doesn't recommend taking the pills, and that they're most likely a money-making ploy.

So what's the best advice for staying protected in the sun?

According to Stewart, a broad spectrum sun block with SPF 30 or above.

Interestingly, he said there's hardly a difference between SPF numbers once you hit 30. Which means your SPF 50 doesn't protect you better.

"Just be sure to put the sunscreen on 20 minutes before you go outside so it has time to start working," he explained.

And if you get in the water or sweat a lot, you'll need to reapply after two hours.

At Fairview pool in Sherman, lifeguard Mattingly Fallon gave the best sunscreen advice there is...

"Try to stay in the shade if you can. We put up umbrellas so that helps," Fallon said.

Creed agreed, saying, "The best sunscreen you can wear is a hat."

Another suggestion is to wear light long sleeves, if you can.