It’s true: Sunscreen is the most important skin care product you can use on your skin on a daily basis. Every summer, copious articles are written about sun damage and sunscreens. The best information is from reliable medical resources. Both the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation have done studies and conferred with physicians, determining the facts about sunscreen and the benefits of protecting yourself on a daily basis.
The American Academy of Dermatology tells us that more than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. The good news is that we can prevent and reduce our risk of skin cancers with proper sunscreen use, avoiding direct sun between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and avoiding tanning beds. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “daily application of SPF 16 sunscreen to the head, neck, arms and hands reduced melanoma incidence by half in study participants.”
Here are some tips to help you protect yourself and your loved ones against damaging rays:
FACT: SPF indicates only UVB protection, not UVA, which still puts you at risk for skin cancer, wrinkles and burns from UVA. This is also true with the term “broad-spectrum”, not a guarantee of full UVA harming ray protection. The best option is a sunscreen that has 5-10 percent zinc or titanium or 3 percent Mexoryl.
FACT: You need to take Vitamin D if you wear sunscreen. Our bodies make Vitamin D in response to sunlight on the skin. We know Vitamin D is essential for bone strength and recent studies have shown it prevents several different cancers. Be sure that you eat a diet rich in vitamin D. You can also check with your doctor about getting this simple blood test.
FACT: It is essential to apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure and to reapply every 2 hours when outside. It is also important to apply sunscreen daily, even if it is cloudy outside. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 80% of harmful UV rays penetrate cloud cover.
Ultimately, by taking preventive measures and using sunscreen, your skin will remain youthful. Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause more than 90 percent of the visible signs of aging, which include wrinkles, rough patches, sagging and skin discoloration. A study published in the American College of Physicians’ Annals of Internal Medicine (released June 3, 2013) showed conclusively that sunscreen can help prevent the visible signs of aging.
The Skin Cancer foundation updates its statistics every year. Hopefully through education, we can promote prevention and in turn, create a positive impact on next year’s statistics!
Denice Schwind, PA-C has specialized in medical and cosmetic dermatology since 2004 and is an industry leader in skin care and anti-aging. Feel free to submit questions directly to Denice at [email protected]