What are the best sunscreens to use and how often should you apply them?
Let’s face it, in South Florida the number one cause for premature aging is the sun. The good news is that we can protect ourselves and save our skin from this damage with the proper use and type of sunscreen.
We are sure you have heard this before but you will need a sunscreen with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA. Ingredients with broad-spectrum protection will contain benzophenones (oxybenzone), sulisobenzone, salicylates, cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate & cinoxate), titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).
UVB PROTECTION. Choose a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher for UVB protection. SPF rates how effective the sunscreen is in preventing sunburn that is caused by UVB rays. We recommend a SPF of 30+ or higher if you have fair skin or a history of skin cancer. Remember that SPF 30 is not twice as strong as SPF 15. SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, whereas SPF 30 filters out 97%, so although only a slight improvement this added protection is still very important to the health of your skin.
UVA PROTECTION. There is no rating to tell you how good a sunscreen is at blocking UVA rays, so when it comes to UVA protection, you need to pay attention to the ingredients. So look for a sunscreen that contains at least one of the following UVA protectors: oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, ecamsule, avobenzone, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide. These ingredients will act as a physical block from the sun. Any of these alone will work well, having many of these together will even work better.
Choose a brand of sunscreen that you like. Even if a brand is recommended by the experts, if you don’t like it, you’re not going to use it, Also other sunscreens include moisturizers or other ingredients for people with dry or oily skin. As long as they meet the UVA and UVB requirements we spoke about, you can give them a try and see what works best. Also pay attention to the expiration date on the bottle as sunscreen’s loses their effectiveness over time.
Lastly, especially in South Florida, it is important to put on sunscreen every morning and not only when it’s hot and sunny. On a grey, overcast day, up to 80% of the dangerous UV rays still make it through the clouds. Yes every morning after you cleanse and moisturize your face, apply sunscreen – even if you are outside for only 10 minutes. If you are driving in your car, you are still getting sun exposure. If you are out in the direct sun for more than a few hours (30-60 minutes if you have fair skin or a history of skin cancer) then you need to reapply especially if you are sweating or swimming.
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