Everyone needs sunscreen – no matter your background, gender or age. As long as you are older than 6 months — you need sunscreen. The sun contains ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer, which is why sun protection is so important. Today, about 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Sunscreen helps protect you from those harmful UV rays and can help reduce the odds of skin cancer. In addition, it can help make your skin look more youthful by protecting against the UV rays that cause wrinkles and discoloration. Consider the following sunscreen tips to help protect your skin:

Look for Broad-Spectrum on the Label – The sun contains two types of harmful rays that reach the earth: UVA and UVB. A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. If a sunscreen is broad-spectrum, it will be specified on the label. Grab a bottle or container with broad-spectrum on it somewhere for maximum sun protection.

Choose SPF 30 or Higher – SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. This number refers to the sunscreen’s ability to block the sun’s harmful rays. A sunscreen of SPF 30 will block 97% of the sun’s rays. A higher SPF will block slightly more UV rays, but there is no sunscreen that will block 100% of the rays. 

Reapply as Needed – Sunscreen only lasts for about two hours. A higher SPF rating does not increase the duration of a sunscreen application, either. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours, or as needed if it washes off.

Wear it Even on Cloudy Days and in the Winter – It is important to wear sunscreen all year long because the sun delivers harmful rays when it’s sunny and when it’s cloudy. On cloudy days, you can still get 80% of the harmful rays penetrating your skin. Snow, water and sand actually reflect the sun’s rays back onto your skin and increase your chance of sunburns.

Check the Expiration – Most sunscreens are good for three years and most will have an expiration date listed on the bottle. If the expiration date has passed, you should throw the sunscreen out. If there is no expiration date on your sunscreen, it should be affective for up to three years after purchase. 

The skin is our largest organ and deserves to be protected. Proper use of sunscreen will help protect your skin for years to come. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Holy, contact THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology at 602-867-7546 or website.