Sunscreen & SPF: Advice and Information for Protecting your Skin this Summer

With summer right around the corner, it is more important than ever to purchase the right sunscreen. But with seemingly endless options in the drugstore aisle, at the mall, or at your Physician’s Office, making the right choice can be overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of sunscreen products from which to choose, so how do you know you are buying the “right” one? That’s easy … the “right” sunscreen is the one that works with your skin type. It’s the sunscreen you like using. Because, after all, the product isn’t going to work if you don’t actually use it! Below are some very simple factors for you to consider when you determine which sunscreen product is right for you.

Why Do We Need Sunscreen?

Unprotected sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. More than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, affecting 2 million people. At current rates, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime. About 75% of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma, and melanoma cases have been rising for at least 30 years. The proper use of a good sunscreen can reduce the risk of skin cancer and slow the signs of skin aging.

How Do Sunscreen Products Work?

Sunscreens protect the skin from the sun’s damaging Ultraviolet (UV) rays by either scattering the rays or absorbing them before they reach the skin. Both Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays have been scientifically proven to cause skin cancer. Therefore, a good sunscreen needs to cover both the UVA and UVB spectrum of radiation. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen product (meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB) with an SPF of at least 30. For the best protection, it should be reapplied frequently (every 1-3 hours depending on activity level) while in the sun and immediately after swimming or sweating.

What is the Difference Between Chemical and Physical Sunscreens?

Sunscreens can be classified into two major types: Chemical and Physical.

Chemical Sunscreens have ingredients that absorb and reduce UV radiation penetration into the skin. These sunscreens are popular because they provide good protection while being invisible and feeling light on the skin. Many of these sunscreens are also reasonably priced, making them a great choice for a lot of people.

Physical Sunscreens are products containing ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which reflect and block UV radiation. Because these products are made of small particles that sit on the surface of the skin, they can be cosmetically unacceptable to some people, because they can leave a thick, white film.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and refers to the theoretical amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. For example, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection. So if your skin starts to redden in 20 minutes without sun block then applying a sunscreen product with an SPF of 15 increases that time by a factor of 15. Meaning you could, theoretically, stay in the sun for 300 minutes before your skin reddens. Additionally, higher SPF blocks out more rays: a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will filter out approximately 93% of UVB rays. SPF 30 filters out about 97%.

Which Sunscreen Is Best for Me?

Once the basics are covered (broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30) the best choice will depend on several factors, such as skin type. Dry skin types do well with a moisturizing formulation. Many moisturizers have an SPF of 30, but it’s important to use enough of the product to get the full SPF written on the label. So to adequately protect your skin, apply your sunscreen liberally and make sure you reapply it frequently! If your skin is oily or acne-prone, then oil-free, non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores) products are best. A great option here is a light liquid formulation of sunscreen that can go under a mineral-based power. This routine provides excellent, lightweight coverage that can be touched up with the sunscreen powder throughout the day without ruining your makeup. People with rosacea or sensitive skin (or anyone with a history of rashes or itchiness caused by sunscreens) should seek out a physical sunscreen as these are less reactive and irritating on the skin.

Sunscreen is One of Many Ways to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Although choosing the right sunscreen for you and your family is important, it is just one component of a complete sun-protection program. To best protect the skin from the sun’s damaging rays, try to avoid the sun when it is the strongest (between 10:00am and 4:00pm), wear sunglasses and a hat, seek shade whenever possible and of course don’t forget to wear your sunscreen!

Why you Need SPF: A Shocking Story

This is story explains why you need SPF sunscreen protection for your skinClick the image to the right to enlarge it and read the story (reproduced below):

“Colorescience SPF 30/50 is an amazing light weight powder formulation that will prevent photo damage if worn daily. Makeup touch ups with sunblock are now simple.” – Jeanine Downie MD, Dermatologist.

Behold, the unfortunate case of a 69-year-old truck driver who spent the better part of 30 years on the big rig. As anyone who’s ever gotten sunburn on one arm can attest, the left side of our body – the one exposed to the sun when driving – is particularly vulnerable to UV rays. Still, we can only imagine Northwestern University researchers Joaquin C. Brieva and Jennifer R.S. Gordon were beyond amazed to stumble upon this particular truck driver as a prime human specimen that exemplifies just how damaging these rays can be.

Due to his vocation, the subject experienced what the researches – whose observations were recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine – noted was a case of unilateral dermatoheliosis. This syndrome, associated with photo-damaged skin, is what can happen when chronic UVA exposure results in the “thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastin fibers.”

“For a dermatologist, this image is like the best Christmas present ever!” says Doctor Jeanine Downie, M.D., YouBeauty Dermatology Expert. “This proves what we’ve been saying for years. People need to understand that UVA rays penetrate through window glass, and they need to apply broad spectrum protection of at least SPF 30 every day and reapply every two hours.”

In the end, the researchers noted, “The use of sun protection [sunscreen], topical retinoids and periodic monitoring for skin cancer were recommended for the patient.” We’d also recommend that to anyone, any age, any time.

Our Sunscreen Product Recommendations, per Skin Type

Contact us to purchase any of these recommended Sunscreen SPF products pictured below! Call Shangrila MedSpa at 949-489-0773.

SPF Sunscreen for Dry Skin
SPF Sunscreen Product for Dry Skin Types

SPF Sunscreen for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
SPF Sunscreen Product for Acne Prone Oily Skin

SPF Sunscreen for Mature, Aging Skin: Layer these Two Products
SPF Sunscreen Product for Mature Aging Skin Layer These Two

All of these recommended Sunscreen products are available for purchase: call Shangrila MedSpa at 949-489-0773. Protect your skin!

This article was written by Deb Alvarez, a valued member of our cosmetic skincare team at Shangrila MedSpa.

Shangrila MedSpa

27512 Calle Arroyo, Suite A
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675.

(949) 489-0773

Shangrila on Google+