The Truth About Sunscreen – How to Protect Your Skin This Summer!
As dermatologists, we recommend applying sunscreen every day to exposed skin. Sun protection at any age is essential to prevent short-term and long-term damage.
Undeniably, sunscreen is a necessity when living in Florida! We know that it keeps us from getting a sunburn, but what is the truth about sunscreen? Does it prevent skin cancer, wrinkles, and what is the best type to use?
As dermatologists, we recommend applying sunscreen every day to exposed skin. Sun protection at any age is essential to prevent short-term and long-term damage. If you have moles or spots on your skin that you are concerned about, call our office today to schedule a consultation.
What is Sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a product you apply to your skin to prevent sunburn. It works like a shield by sitting on the surface of your skin and absorbing or deflecting the sun’s rays.
When used as directed, regular use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by as much as 40% and lower your risk of developing melanoma by 50%. Sunscreen can also prevent premature aging of the skin, such as sagging, wrinkles, and age spots.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF number indicates how long the sun’s UV radiation will take to redden your skin when using the product as directed. So, if you wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30, it will take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. An SPF 30 allows about 3% of the UVB rays to hit your skin. An SPF 50 allows about 2% of those rays to get through. While that may not seem significant, it means that SPF 30 allows 50% more UV onto your skin, which is significant.
Who Should Use Sunscreen?
The simple answer – everyone should wear sunscreen! Women, men, and children over the age of 6 months. This is true for people who tan easily and for those who don’t. Sun damage occurs over a long period of time, whether you burn easily or not.
Babies under the age of 6 months are highly sensitive to the sun and should be protected from any sun exposure. Sunshades and sun-protective clothing are the best ways to protect your baby’s skin.
Which Type Should You Use?
When you go to the store to buy sunscreen, the options are almost endless. So how do you pick the right one for your skin? The short answer is that the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use. As long as it provides safe and effective protection and has an SPF of 15 or higher, it will do the job.
There are two types of sunscreen:
- Physical, or mineral, sunscreen – This includes the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, blocking and scattering the UV rays before they penetrate your skin.
- Chemical sunscreen – These absorb the rays before they have a chance to damage your skin.
The active ingredients in all sunscreens are chemically derived. They are actually inorganic mineral compounds. The sunscreens that are often called “chemical” are actually UV organic filters.
- Apply a half-hour before being in the sun
- Reapply every 2 hours
- Reapply after swimming or sweating
- Broad-spectrum protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays
- SPF 15 is good for everyday use
- SPF 30 or higher is necessary for being outside for an extended period
- No sunscreen is waterproof – they will all eventually wash off
- Certain medications or disorders can make your skin highly sensitive to the sun
- If you are prone to acne, choose a sunscreen for acne-prone skin
Keep in mind that while applying sunscreen is essential, it is not guaranteed to prevent skin cancer.
Jacksonville Skin Cancer Specialists
Jacksonville Skin Cancer Specialists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. There are many different types of skin cancer. The skin cancer most people have heard about is melanoma because it is the most deadly skin cancer. But it is not the most common skin cancer. By far, the most common skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
We are experts in diagnosing and treating skin cancer, from the most common to the rarest and most complex tumors. You can rest assured you will receive the highest quality care. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.