Sunscreen 101

With winter officially behind us, many of us are daydreaming about spring and summer getaways that are coming up. These may involve warm, nice weather with lots of sunshine, which means sunscreen is an important product to be using. Although many people skip sunscreen during the winter, it is actually a year-round necessity in order to prevent skin cancer. The following is a basic guideline to the most appropriate types and uses of sunscreen.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the best sunscreen:

  • Has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher – A SPF of 30 can block up to 97% of harmful rays, so you don’t necessarily need a SPF of over 50.
  • Has broad-spectrum protection, meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can cause premature aging, while UVB rays can cause sunburn. Excessive exposure to these rays can cause skin cancer.
  • Is water resistant – A water resistant sunscreen will help protect your skin better during swimming or sweating. It is important to reapply sunscreen after these activities.

Sunscreen Use Guidelines:

  • Apply liberally to all potentially sun-exposed areas.
  • Apply at least 15 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Lather more on every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  • Use even on overcast days, as up to 80% of UV light can still pass through clouds.
  • Use in conjunction with protective clothing, hats, and shade to maximize protection from skin cancer. These measures are especially important for infants under 6 months, since sunscreen use is recommended after 6 months.

If during one of your applications you notice a skin abnormality, consult with an experienced board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Juan Vaillant to rule out problems like skin cancer. At Old Bridge Dermatology, we treat all types of skin, hair, and nail issues such as acne, eczema, nail fungus, and hair loss. Dr. Vaillant has been serving the Old Bridge, NJ area for over 30 years and has numerous specialties to provide the latest and most efficient treatments. Please contact us or call us at (732) 679-0222 to schedule an appointment!