FACTS ABOUT SUNSCREEN
Melanoma has increased eightfold in women ages 18-39 from 1970 to 2009! A recent study in Japan showed that one application of sunscreen effectively covered only 60% of the intended area but a second application increased this to 90%.
Both types of rays from the sun, UVA and UVB can do damage to collagen fibers leading to premature aging of the skin AND can damage DNA contributing to skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and have the ability to pass through glass and clouds. SPF is an acronym for Sun Protection Factor which only rates the amount of UVB rays that reach the skin. Therefore it is important to use a “Broadspectrum” product for both UVB and UVA protection.
It is recommended that the SPF be a minimum of 15. This allows 1/15th of the sun’s UVB radiation to reach the skin. SPF 30 allows 1/30th of the rays and a 96% UVB protection. It is also recommended to apply sun protection 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the chemicals to absorb into the skin. Reapplying the product every 2 hours is necessary because the formulas break down in the presence of sunlight within that time. Use about two tablespoons to cover face neck, chest, ears, and hands.
(Did You Know? Anti-oxidants like vitamin C serum when applied before your sunscreen help to prevent sun damage which can accelerate aging and wrinkles.)
On a personal note:
I recently got sunburnt by using older sunscreen and sitting under an umbrella. First, just throw out last year’s sunscreen, it loses its effectiveness. Secondly, many umbrellas like t-shirts offer little UV protection due to the loose weave of the material. A patient recently related she had her lips sunburnt. She was using lip sunscreen but was drinking water often and it came off. Reapplying sunscreen regularly and especially after water contact is necessary.
All of the sun protection products at our office have both UVA and UVB formulations. We also sell a number of anti-oxidant, vitamin C serums. Call to make an appointment to see one of our skin care nurses who will clarify which product would be best for you. The skin care nurses are available Monday through Friday with some evening and Saturday hours.