We all know sunscreen protects our skin from the sun, yet most Americans don’t use sunscreen, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sunscreen is important in preventing sun damage and even skin cancer. The Los Angeles oculoplastic surgeons at Eyesthetica have experience managing skin cancer and aesthetic damage around the eyelids and face and want to share with you the following tips on choosing the best sunscreen.
- Broad spectrum: Sunscreens that can protect against both UVA and UVB rays are known as “broad spectrum” sunscreens. UVA and UVB rays both can cause harm to your skin, so it’s important to protect yourself against both of them. Overexposure to UVA rays can cause skin aging and wrinkles, while overexposure to UVB rays can lead to sunburns and skin cancer.
- 30 SPF or higher. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher for maximum protection. Sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30 blocks at least 97 percent of the sun’s rays. While higher-SPF sunscreens provide more protection, no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s rays. Sunscreens with higher SPFs last the same amount of time as sunscreens with low SPFs.
- Water resistant. If you are looking for a sunscreen to use while swimming, choose one that is labeled “water resistant.” This type of sunscreen protects against the sun for up to 40 or 80 minutes while in the water.
- Check the expiration date. If you’re like a lot of people, you may have been using the same sunscreen bottle for several summers now, year after year. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all sunscreens maintain their original strength for at least three years, it’s important to remember to use sunscreen year-round, even in cloudy weather. If your sunscreen doesn’t have an expiration date, write the date of purchase on the bottle so you know when to throw it out. If you see a change in color or consistency of the sunscreen, then it’s time to buy a new bottle.
- Use spray sunscreen properly. Spray sunscreens are popular because they’re less messy than sunscreen lotions and they’re easier to use on children. But it’s sometimes difficult to know if you have used enough spray sunscreen to cover all sun-exposed areas of the body. To avoid inadequate coverage, try spraying sunscreen into your hands and then applying it to your body.
- For children: Always help children apply sunscreen properly. Avoid sunscreens with chemicals like PABA and oxybenzone, which can cause certain skin reactions on sensitive skin, including children’s skin.
- For acne-prone skin: If you have acne or oily skin, choose a gel sunscreen or one that is labeled “oil free.” If you have allergy-prone skin, avoid sunscreens that have preservatives or fragrances.
Interested in learning more about skin care this summer? Reach out to one of our trusted and experienced oculoplastic surgeons at Eyesthetica. Schedule a one-on-one appointment today by calling (213) 986-8789.