The 7 Products You Need in Your Beach Bag This Summer

Protecting skin and hair from harmful effects of the sun pays off in the long run.

It wasn’t long ago that sunbathers would slather up with baby oil and squeeze lemon juice in their hair, baking for hours under that big ball of fire in the sky. What were they thinking?

Here’s a sobering fact: Nearly 90 percent of skin changes associated with aging are caused by a lifetime of exposure to UVA rays. Not to mention that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime.

With a sea of sunscreen products on store shelves, it’s hard to know which one provides the most protection.

Look for a sunscreen with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVA and UVB. Make sure that it has one of the following ingredients: cinnamates, sulisobenzone, salicyclates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, benzophenones and ecamsule.

SPF factors let consumers know how effective that sunscreen is in preventing sunburn. For instance, if you’d normally begin burning after only 10 minutes in the sun, SPF 15 means you could go 150 minutes before being affected by the sun. Choosing the right sun protection is crucial, but using it correctly is just as important. Even water- and sweat-resistant products need to be reapplied every hour.

And, don’t forget your hat. Many sun lovers don’t think to protect their hair. A hat is the best way to do this, and it serves the dual purpose of keeping the scalp from getting burned. There are also several cream or spray-in products designed to minimize damage. Here’s a quick guide of what to keep in your beach bag this summer.

Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray, $36 A new sun care sensation for both skin and hair, Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray contains SPF 30 and is formulated with organic Indonesian Nyamplung Oil. It protects against the drying effects of salt water and prolonged sun exposure.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer with Helioplex, $8 Providing superior broad-spectrum protection against skin-aging UVA and burning UVB rays, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer with Helioplex combines Dry-Touch technology for a lightweight, non-greasy feel.

Jergens Natural Glow, $10 Jergens Natural Glow performs double duty with its SPF 20 sunscreen also acting as a tanning cream. Optimum intensity of color can be achieved after one week of daily application. It’s the smart way to get that golden glow.

Nios Shield Leave-In Conditioner, $26  Nios provides hair color and texture protection with SPF 15 sunscreen. Containing Moroccan argan oil, vitamin E and vitamin B5, Nios also hydrates hair and tames frizzy flyaways.

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Lotion WetForce, $40 This sunscreen means business. With a powerful broad spectrum SPF 50, WetForce is perfect for the active type. Its formula causes it to actually become more effective when exposed to water for 15 minutes.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX, $35 Anthelios SX is a daily-use moisturizer with SPF 15 sunscreen. It’s fragrance-free and has been dermatologist and allergy tested. Ingredients include mexoryl SX  (ecamsule), parsol 1789, octocrylene and glycerin.

TarteGuard 30, $32 This multi-tasking, antioxidant-infused daily sunscreen contains no chemicals and helps brighten, moisturize and reinvigorate skin. TarteGuard’s non-sticky lotion has a fresh, Ocean’s Lily scent and is infused with marcuja, red algae, soybean, apple and honeysuckle.