Layering on sunscreen is a must when spending time outdoors. However, grabbing the first product you see on the drugstore shelf isn’t enough. A high quality sunscreen with broad spectrum protection will do the best job at preventing skin cancer and premature aging. This guide will help you find the right sunscreen to protect your skin.
Sunscreen acts as a barrier between your skin and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. These rays can damage your skin cells, causing issues like cancer and aging. There are two types of sunscreens that act as this barrier: chemical and physical.
Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the UV rays. The main ingredients in these sunscreens are often octisalate or avobenzone. Physical sunscreens function by blocking and scattering the rays. These sunscreens contain ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, so they’re often called mineral sunscreens.
Both chemical and physical sunscreens are safe to use, so talk to your dermatologist about which is best for you.
When shopping for sunscreen, there are a few characteristics to look for. These features indicate that the sunscreen is effective at preventing sun damage:
While sunscreen is an important part of skin cancer prevention, it’s not the only measure you can take. Wear protective clothing and stay in the shade whenever possible, especially during mid-day hours. You should also avoid artificial tanning, as indoor tanning beds emit harmful UV radiation as well.
As you take steps to protect your skin from the sun, be sure to see your dermatologist regularly. They can perform skin cancer screenings, discuss your personal skin cancer risk, and make recommendations for better sun protection. Your dermatologist can also offer skin care for sun damage, reducing the appearance of existing sun spots, wrinkles, and other issues related to sun exposure.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists is available to discuss sun protection and skin cancer prevention. Our skin cancer dermatology experts provide screenings, diagnostics, and treatment for our patients. We have offices in Montebello, CA and the surrounding area, so contact us today to book a screening at a location near you.