Just about every skincare blog or article regarding protecting your skin against fine lines and wrinkles will reinforce that a healthy and effective skincare routine consists of cleansing, moisturizing and, maybe most importantly, wearing sunscreen. Layering sunscreen over your serums and moisturizers but before makeup application should be part of your daily regimen to avoid the signs of aging by safeguarding the skin. But what level of SPF should I be wearing?

The term SPF stands for sun protection factor and serves as a measurement for protection against UVB rays, the type of ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn, skin damage and can increase the risk of skin cancer. Most dermatologists will recommend using an SPF 30 sunscreen because SPF 30 filters out 97% of UVB rays. The SPF number compares the amount of time it will take the skin to become red or noticeably affected by the sun versus the time without wearing any sunscreen. For example, if you were to correctly apply an SPF 15 sunscreen, this means it would take 15 times longer to burn than if you did not wear sunscreen. Most people under-apply their sunscreen and should focus on generously applying about one ounce for full body coverage and reapplying every 2 hours.

Sunscreens with the label “broad spectrum” indicate that the sunscreen has both UVB and UVA protection. Broad spectrum is the type of sunscreen beauty influencers and board-certified dermatologists alike will recommend since the UVA rays are responsible for causing premature aging of the skin, while redness and burning are blocked by the UVB protection. While broad spectrum can provide dual protection, increasing the number of SPF will not necessarily promise a greater defense against aging skin damage as higher SPF sunscreens usually offer greater UVB protection than UVA. 

When out in the sun, wear a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30. Apply liberally and reapply every 2 hours. If possible, wear sun-protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat to shield your skin from prolonged sun exposure. Early detection with self-exams as well as a yearly skin assessment with a dermatologist at THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology will help eliminate risk factors and provide treatment before skin cancer develops or progresses. Make your appointment today by calling 602-867-7546 or booking online at WEBSITE.