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Most consumers realize the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect from themselves from damaging UV rays and skin cancer. Although we recognize how concerning skin cancer is, but most of us don’t know as much about photoaging. Photoaging is a roughened skin texture, discoloration, skin laxity, and the development of fine lines and wrinkles in response to long term sun exposure.

One way to protect yourself from photaging and skin cancer is sunscreen. The FDA requires sunscreen manufacturers to develop easy to understand ratings and labeling of their sunscreen products. For example, SPF will now refer to “sunburn protection factor” vs. the traditional “sun protection factor.”

Also, the FDA has mandated that sunscreen products with a SPF rating of higher than 50 cannot be proven to be any more effective than SPF 50.

laser treatments for age spots before picture laser treatments for age spots after picture

Photoaging resulting from lack of sunscreen use

Scientists are finding ways to provide better protection against UVA and UVB rays by using the correct ingredients in sunscreen. Unfortunately, even with the most powerful sunscreen product, lack of consumer education or compliance can make them completely ineffective.

Here are some tips for proper sunscreen use:

  1. There is no such thing as “water proof sunscreen.” The correct term and concept is “water resistant sunscreen.”
  2. Sunscreen should always be used liberally and generously.
  3. Re-application of sunscreen is recommended every 2 hours while outside for extended periods of time. Some manufacturers suggest re-applying the sunscreen again after the 1st hour because the product has now absorbed into the skin. By using a 2nd layer 1 hour later, we are providing sunscreen protection for the sunscreen!
  4. Do not rely on cosmetics or moisturizers that claim to have ingredients that offer sun protection. These products do not provide the level of protection needed with an actual sunscreen product.
  5. Use of daily sunscreen is a good skin habit regardless of how much time is actually spent outdoors. Consider how much UV exposure we have while driving in our cars.
  6. When protecting your face, don’t forget the chest, arms, and hands.

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