A Guide to Proper Sunscreen Use
Summer is finally here, which means that many of us will be spending more time outdoors in the sun! While this is something to look forward to, it is also important to educate yourself on how to properly protect your skin from the sun. The sun’s UV rays can cause skin damage, early signs of aging, and even skin cancer over time. Read on to learn more about sunscreen and how to properly use it for the best protection.
First, let’s start by covering the different types of sunscreens used today. There are two main types of sunscreens, including chemical and physical. Each of these types effectively protects your skin from the sun’s rays using different techniques.
Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s UV rays and convert them into a small amount of heat. This heat is then released from the body. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens often include avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone. Chemical sunscreens Sunscreen should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure for the best protection.
Physical sunscreens contain mineral compounds such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which reflect and scatter UV light to protect your skin. These sunscreens often offer more broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, which is important for optimal protection. Physical sunscreen is effective immediately.
When it comes to correctly using sunscreen, the golden rule is to choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when spending time outdoors. SPF 30 will protect you against 97% of the sun’s UVB rays, which lead to burning and skin damage, while SPF 50 will protect you against 98% of the sun’s UVB rays. Also, everyone of every skin color should wear sunscreen to reduce their risk of skin cancer. Those with lighter skin tones should be especially vigilant in wearing sunscreen, as they are more susceptible to sun damage.
To correctly apply sunscreen, you should use the “teaspoon and shot glass rule”. That is one teaspoon of sunscreen for the face and neck, and enough to fill a shot glass (1 ounce) for exposed areas of the body. You should also reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, or after water exposure or sweating.
If you do end up getting a sunburn, be sure to start treatment right away. This can begin with seeking shade and avoiding any more sun exposure. You should also drink extra water. This is because a sunburn will draw fluid to the surface of the skin, which can lead to dehydration.
Topical therapies for sunburn include cool baths, gentle moisturizers, and over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream which may help with any discomfort. If you are experiencing a moderate amount of discomfort, ibuprofen or aspirin can help.
For more information regarding the correct use of sunscreen and how to best protect your skin, contact Fargo Derm in Fargo, ND today. We also offer a selection of aesthetic treatment options to treat sun damage for a more youthful-looking complexion.