May is skin cancer awareness month and as we move into the summer months, I thought I’d share some tips to help protect your skin in the sun. I’ve also provided some recommendations on my favorite sunscreens below.
o Whenever possible, avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10 am and 3 pm, when UVB is most intense.
o If avoiding the sun is not possible, cover up with clothing as much as possible and wear a broad brimmed hat to protect your face.
o Always use a high SPF (30+) broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection factor.
o The higher the SPF the better. While there seems to be a persistent myth that once you get over a certain SPF it doesn’t matter, in fact, studies have shown that higher SPF sunscreens do provide more protection.
o Most people under apply sunscreen by half. So apply liberally and remember to reapply!
o Spread sunscreen, don't rub it in. Best protection is achieved from a uniform layer on the surface of the skin.
o Contrary to some common myths, chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens are both effective forms of protection. What is most important is to find a sunscreen formulation that you like and will actually use!
o Think about sun protection and sun damage at a cumulative level. Protecting from a sunburn today is important, but long-term protection from skin cancers and photoaging is critical (and can save your life!)
o Using sunscreen on a daily basis can significantly reduce your risk of various forms of skin cancer including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
I'll wrap this up by providing a list of sunscreens that I personally like. Each person is different and my recommendations will vary depending on your skin type ie. oily, sensitive etc. but this is a great set of products to choose from.
o La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Stick Sunscreen SPF60
Love this for my kids’ faces! Easy to apply and I’m less likely to get sunscreen in their eyes as they squirm. It’s also good for people who work out or sweat a lot. I use it on the back of my hands and lips.
o Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen Powder SPF 50
I like this sunscreen as a top up throughout the day! It’s easy to apply (dust powder on), it’s easy to carry (throw it in a purse or bag), and for those that wear makeup you don’t have to worry about reapplying a sunscreen over top of your foundation.
o Vichy Mexoryl XL Sun Protection Cream SPF60
This is a good work horse for all over sun protection, goes on smooth and is well tolerated
o SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
I like this one for the face. It’s purely mineral, light weight and has a nice tint to it.
o Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion with Helioplex SPF 60
Many of my acne prone patients like this one - it’s inexpensive, easy to apply and tends to be well tolerated
o Reversa Radiance Cream 4% Glycolic Acid SPF30
I like this for the winter months or days when I’m not spending the day at the beach (or else I go up higher in SPF). It is well tolerated and has some other perks such as glycolic acid for brighter skin.
o SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50+
While not pictured (I just ran out!), this is another go to of mine. It also acts as a superscreen to protect against infrared rays