Who needs sunscreen?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), everyone needs sunscreen regardless of all skin color and race. More than 2 million people each year are diagnosed with skin cancer. Many of these cases could have been prevented by using sunscreen and proper skin protection. In addition, overexposure to the sun contributes to early signs of aging like wrinkles and sun spots.
What type of sunscreen is best?
The AAD recommends a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. You should look for a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. In addition, you want a sunscreen that is water resistant. It doesn’t matter if you use a spray or a cream, just choose the one you like best (so you will be more inclined to use it). Also make sure you use enough of the product to adequately cover your skin. The AAD recommends you use one ounce, which is enough to fill a shot glass.
How often do I need to use sunscreen?
You need to use sunscreen every day that you will be exposed to the sun, even on cloudy days. Make sure you cover every area exposed to the sun with sunscreen, wear protective clothing and seek shade if available. Re-apply approximately every two hours or as indicated on the label. Pay special attention the ears, lips and scalp as these are sensitive places with a greater potential for sunburn. The most potent rays occur between 10AM to 2PM daily so limit your exposure during those hours if possible.
Understanding the new sunscreen labels
The FDA recently provided new guidelines for sunscreen labels. As of December 2012, the labels will provide you with more information
about what type of UV protection a sunscreen offers and what a sunscreen can do.
When reading the label, here is what you want to look for:
- Make sure the label says “broad spectrum”.
- The second thing is the SPF. The AAD recommends a rating of 30 SPF or higher.
- Look for water resistant. Not all sunscreens are water resistant.
- The duration that the sunscreen is water resistant is either 40 minutes or 80 minutes.
- After that time, you need to reapply.
- Do not choose a sunscreen that also has insect repellant. The AAD recommends using two separate products.
Annual skin exams
Regardless of how well you protect your skin, the AAD recommends you have a dermatologist examine your skin for potential health issues at least once a year. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist immediately. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early. We often have same-day appointments at our Dermatology office in Ladera Ranch so call us to schedule your skin exam today.
Sunscreen in a nutshell
This infographic details how to select an effective sunscreen that prevents sunburn, reduces risk of skin cancer, and helps prevent early signs of skin aging. You are welcome to share it but please give credit to the American Academy of Dermatology.