Sunscreen: SIX Important Things To Know
By Michael A. Devlin, MD on May 11, 2015
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to reinforce and educate on the importance of sun protection.
Sun damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays can result in premature aging including wrinkles, brown spots, and dry flaky skin. More importantly, case studies have shown that sunburns and sun damage share a direct link to skin cancer. These facts make sunscreen one of the most important skin care products you can commit to no matter what your age. Most people do not realize that not all sunscreens are created equal. Creams are more consistent compared to sprays or gels and are also often water-resistant, with broad-band spectrum protection.
Sunscreen should be applied all over your body, on a daily basis, no matter what the weather conditions. UV rays are out all year long, even in the winter. While UVB rays (the rays that cause burns) are only active during certain months of the year. An interesting fact though is that UV rays cause more damaging rays to the skin. UVA rays suppress the immune system, which interferes with the spread of skin cancer. These rays also lead to signs of premature aging.
Sunscreen should be applied 20-30 minutes before going out and should be applied on any skin that is going to be exposed. Places people most often forget about include: the ears, hands, feet, neck, and eyelids and SCARS!
A fresh cosmetic surgery scar is usually pink and can become sunburned easily if it is exposed to the sun. This is true no matter what color your skin is. If a scar tissue gets sunburned, it may never fade to your normal skin color and may always be darker than the rest of your skin. There is little that can be done once a healing scar has become sunburned, so the best treatment is prevention.
Here are SIX important things to know when choosing a sunscreen:
- Look for the words Broad Spectrum. This means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause aging and skin cancer, UVB rays cause sunburn. The best UVB protection is zinc. For the face we recommend Neutrogena, which will does not clog your pores.
- Look for an SPF between 30 and 50. Lower numbers don’t protect enough, higher SPF numbers have not been shown to be any more effective. Again we do recommend Neutrogena SPF 50 for the face, neck and ears.
- Apply adequate amounts to cover your entire body. It takes approximately one ounce per application to cover the entire body, most people only use half of that amount
- Reapply every 2 hours even if you don’t get wet or sweat. No sunscreen is waterproof or sweat proof. At best, they are water resistant for either 40 or 80 minutes. This will be on the label.
- Apply sunscreen every day.UV rays can penetrate clouds and glass, so protect yourself!
- Limit sun exposure between times of maximal UV radiation – between 10 am and 2 pm. Don't forget that clothing provides some sun protection and wear a hat.
Devlin Cosmetic Surgery is here to help you age gracefully. Contact us today for your complimentary consultation.
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