Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Sunscreen 101

As the summer months are on the horizon, we just want to put out a friendly reminder to protect yourself through the months of summer sun ahead!  We’re sharing our best sun protection tips and some of our favorite sunscreens to help prepare you for success.

  1. Choose a good sunscreen: To start, let’s talk about what to look for to get full protection from both UVA (wrinkle causing rays) and UVB (which are the sun burning rays). Obviously we want both, so the most important thing to look for in your sunscreen is to make sure it says “broad spectrum”. Ingredients with broad-spectrum protection include benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).  Secondly, we want to make sure we have a high enough SPF to really make sure we are protected. While some think SPF 15 is ideal, at WDC we typically recommend at least an SPF of 30, which filters out about 97% of UVB rays.
  2. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours:  One of the biggest mistakes people make is not reapplying sunscreen. People who get sunburned usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. Apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn.  Don’t forget to use enough sunscreen. Most adults need at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount you can hold in your palm, to fully cover all exposed areas of your body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.
  3. Wear protective clothing and accessories:  Wide brim hats are, in fact, in style…so don’t shy away from the long-sleeve cover ups and big hats.  This makes being out in the sun all day so much easier and makes for happier skin afterwards.
  4. Pick out a sunscreen you’ll use:  Not all sunscreens are equal.  Some are stickier, thicker, thinner than others….so this may be the most important tip we have.  Get a sunscreen you don’t mind putting on and chances are you’ll be more apt to do it!

Don’t forget, prevention is best, so try to get in the habit of doing an at-home skin self-exam for your moles and call us if you notice anything that looks abnormal.  Here’s a guide on helpful tips to look for at your in-home exams.  ABDCE’s of skin cancer .

We also came up with a list of some of our favorite summer sunscreen picks!

  • Revision Intellishade: This tinted SPF 50 sunscreen is one of our favorites for daily use on the face. It is a thicker moisturizer giving you both high sun protection for your face, as well as, coverage for blemishes. One of our favorite features of this product is that is comes in a regular, matte, or the newest form TruPhysical…. appealing to people with oily and normal skin alike.
  • SkinMedica Total Defense and Repair:  This sunscreen is the ideal face sunscreen for those dealing with melasma.  Also know as the revolutionary super screen, it goes beyond UV protection to defend against harmful infrared rays while supporting the skin’s ability to restore itself.
  • Elta MD UV Pure Borad Spectrum 47: This oil-free, paraben-free, hormone-free, and dye-free sunscreen is our favorite for a daily body or face sunscreen, going on smoothly to both wet and dry skin.  This is also one of our top choices to use for babies, or if you have very sensitive skin.
  • Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50:  This lighter option for facial sunscreen coverage is a chemical-filter free broad spectrum sunscreen. With SPF 50 protection, this sheer sunscreen provides a matte, ultra light finish. We love that it’s  safe for use on post-procedure skin and sensitive skin. The zinc oxide formula boosts skin’s defense against heat stress and UVA/UVB rays.

Feel free to contact us with any question you may have HERE!