Summer is here. The days are longer, the sun is stronger, and we are outdoors more.
Dr. Peter Jajou reminds patients that “It’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as “light, base, or safe tan”. An individual’s skin darkens or tans as result of protecting itself from harmful UV rays. A tan is our skin’s way of telling us it is being damaged.”
Skin cancer is the most common form of globally and having five or more sunburns in your life doubles your risk for melanoma.1 It’s key to remember that no sunscreen is the same, even if it is a high-SPF.
What should you know when you choose your sunscreen?
1.Choose broad-spectrum – Broad-spectrum means that the sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays. All sunscreens protect against UVB rays, which are the cause of sunburns. But UVA rays also contribute to skin cancer and premature aging. Products that are not broad spectrum must carry a warning that they only protect against sunburn, not skin cancer or skin aging2.
2. Choose SPF of 30 or more – Approximately 90% of non-melanoma cancers are the result of exposure to UV radiation from the sun1. The SPF number indicates the level of protection against UVB rays. Is SBF 15 enough? It’s not. In fact, the FDA requires any sunscreen with an SBF below 15 to carry a warning that it only protects against burns, not skin cancer2. Consider these facts:
- SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 sunscreens about 98% of UVB rays
3. Understand sweat and water resistance – Manufacturers cannot claim a sunscreen is waterproof because no product is fully waterproof. Instead, sunscreens can be water resistant, meaning it last for 40 minutes, or very water resistant, meaning it lasts for 80 minutes. The bottom line is you must reapply sunscreen often. All sunscreens are meant to be re-applied every two hours but when you are swimming or exercising, you should re-apply even more often2.
To shop clinician-recommended sunscreens from our online store, visit https://shop.pinnacleskin.com/collections/sun-protectants.
Finally, there is a right way and wrong way to apply sunscreen.
The American Academy of Dermatology has a video to teach you the safe way to apply sunscreen:
To schedule your 2021 Total Body Skin Exam, call (833) 257-7546 or schedule an appointment online.