It’s summer and time for fun in the sun. There is so much confusion around topicals for sun protection; what should I use, how much, how long will I be protected? When you have so many options, and such conflicting information it can be crippling at times. Dr. Julia Tzu of Wall Street Dermatology shares her glow tips for proactive sun protection so your skin can maintain a healthy glow and stay shielded while you’re on the go!
Daily use of a quality sunscreen is crucial for the health and beauty of your skin. Sunlight contains ultraviolet radiation (UV-A, and UV-B) that accelerates skin aging.
When do I need to use sunscreen?
A commonly held misconception is that sunscreens should only be used during sunny days or during sunny outings. Sunscreens really should be used daily on all sun-exposed areas of the body. Because ultraviolet radiation is invisible to the naked eye, how “sunny” the day appears is not a reliable indicator of the incoming UV radiation exposure. Hence, UV radiation can be present in high levels even on an overcast, rainy day.
How to choose a sunscreen.
When choosing a sunscreen, look for a high SPF (sun protection factor). SPF of at least 30, which blocks out 97% of the UVB, is typically recommended for everyday usage. A higher SPF may be recommended for outdoor activities. Always look for “broad spectrum” on the SPF label as an indicator of protection against UV-A and UV-B, both of which contribute to skin aging and skin cancer.
How much sunscreen should be applied on the body?
Generally, a shotglass (approximately two tablespoons) amount of sunscreen is sufficient for the average person. Remember that sunscreen should be applied thirty minutes prior to sun exposure, then reapplied every two hours for outdoor activities. For outdoor activities that involve water exposure, look for the “water resistant” label that indicates the duration, typically 40 or 80 minutes, of sun protection while exposed to water.
How to apply sunscreen.
When applying sunscreen, ensure coverage to all sun exposed areas of the body. Areas of the skin that are frequently overlooked include top of ears, back of neck, and lips. An SPF lip balm is an ideal vehicle for application of sunscreen to the lips.
How long can I stay safely exposed in the sun?
Sunscreen only filters out a certain amount of sunlight and that increased duration of exposure may cancel out the beneficial effects of sunscreen usage. Prevention of skin cancers and sun induced premature aging depends on a combination of proper sunscreen usage and prudent sun avoidance.
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Dr.Tzu is the Medical Director and Founder of Wall Street Dermatology. She is a double board certified dermatologist and specializes in cosmetic dermatology, Mohs surgery (for skin cancer), reconstructive skin surgery, and laser surgery. She is one of very few dermatologists in the world, and the only one in Manhattan, who has devoted additional years of formalized fellowship training in both Mohs surgery as well as dermatopathology, making her amongst the most highly trained and elite dermatologists. Dr. Tzu is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, the American College of Mohs Surgery, and the Women’s Dermatologic Society.
Visit Dr Julia Tzu: Wall Street Dermatology