As much as the discussion about skin cancer has increased in recent years, studies show that a large majority of people remain in the dark about the power of sunscreen. Some studies indicate that the use of sunscreen has declined over the past few years. Other studies indicate that we may be collectively choosing the wrong products and the wrong methods to protect ourselves against skin cancer.
Get to Know your Sunscreen
When you choose a sunscreen product, what is the first thing you observe? Is it SPF? If so, you’re not alone. Many people associate the SPF number on the sunscreen bottle with strength, the higher the number the better the protection. In truth, even a lower SPF of 15 filters out over 90% of UVB light. SPF 15 also gives you 15 times more time in the sun than if you went sunscreen-free. So, if you are one who tends to burn within 10 minutes of being in the sun, applying SPF 15 sunscreen should presumably offer you 150 minutes of light-filtering to prevent sunburn. However sunburn is only one of the dangers of UV radiation.
UVA and the Skin
While UVB light is responsible for the physiological changes that result in red, prickly skin, UVA radiation has been associated with latter onset conditions. These include premature aging, a noticeable loss of elasticity in the skin, and skin cancer. Clearly, there is a need for UVA protection and sunscreen; but this is not indicated by SPF. The term “broad-spectrum” is what indicates this characteristic, and it is what you should look for when choosing sunscreen for you and your family.
Your Skin Health is in Your Hands . . . Literally
No matter how high the SPF of your sunscreen, protection from UV radiation comes from the proper application. Most people do not apply the adequate amount of sunscreen (about 2 tablespoons ), and most people do not apply sunscreen as frequently as they should (every 2-3 hours). UV damage occurs within minutes of being in the sun. For this reason, it is important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis, covering all areas of the face, neck, chest, backs of hands, and any other area that is exposed. On days at the beach, the pool, or any other outdoor area, SPF 30 sunscreen with water resistant capabilities is recommended.
At Sahara medical Institute, we offer complexion analysis using the innovative Visia system. Contact our office to see how a personal analysis can identify hidden sun damage beneath your skin.