By now, most patients like you understand how important it is to wear sunscreen. Even though most wear sunscreen, we’re often surprised to learn that very few understand how to wear sunscreen effectively!
We spend time with our patients telling them about the importance of effectively using sunscreen for skin health. First, we discuss SPF (Sun Protection Factor). An SPF of 30 is sufficient for many and any SPF higher than 50 offers little added protection.
In addition to SPF, how you apply and how often you apply your sunscreen is important.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Use a liberal amount of sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that the average adult use 1 ounce (the size of a shot glass) to cover all exposed areas of skin. Most people simply use too little sunscreen for it to work properly.
- Apply your sunscreen before you go outdoors—preferably about 15 minutes prior to allow it to absorb into the skin. Applying right before you sweat or get in the water can make it less effective.
- If you plan on swimming or sweating it is super important to make sure that your sunscreen is water/sweat resistant. Choose an appropriate product for your activity and reapply your sunscreen often if you’re sweating or swimming extensively.
- Always reapply sunscreen every two hours. Even if you feel that you are not burning, re-apply. If you feel sunburned, then it’s too late! Your skin has been damaged at that point. As mentioned above, reapply more frequently after extensive time in the water or excessive sweating.
- Use an oil-free sunscreen if you are prone to facial and/or body acne. Ingredients matter, so always check before you apply.
- Damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation is present on cloudy and sunny days. Always apply sunscreen for any outdoor activity, even if the sun isn’t shining. This includes time in the car, as UV passes thru glass and hits your skin.
Lastly, remember to apply sunscreen to more than your face. Protect your scalp, ears, neck, chest, forearms and hands as they are often forgotten in your morning routine. Poikiloderma is a common cosmetic problem of red and brown discoloration to these areas due to chronic exposure to the damaging rays of the sun.
Age spot removal before and after pictures
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