How to Choose the Right Sunscreen This Summer

The pandemic affected everyone across the globe. As the economy opens up, you can’t wait to be outside this spring and summer. You love sunshine, but be sure to take daily precautions against overexposure to those rays. 

Sunlight helps your body make Vitamin D, which is essential to your bones, immune system, and overall health. However, the sun’s intense rays can do real and lasting damage to your skin.

Board-certified plastic surgeon Jack Hensel, Jr., MD, with Lowcountry Plastic Surgery Center in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, sees patients daily who have overdosed on the sun and now want to repair years of damage. Protecting your skin saves time and money in the long run. 

Our practice offers a number of skin-care products Dr. Hensel has selected to keep your skin looking radiant and youthful, and most of all, healthy. The lines contain high-quality sunscreens. 

There are dozens of types of sunscreen. Which kind is most effective? Following are key tips to help keep your skin healthy this summer. 

Buy only sunscreen labeled ‘broad spectrum’

Experts recommend buying sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum.” The designation means that it’s FDA approved to protect your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays

Excess exposure to UVA rays causes skin cells to age, producing wrinkles, sun spots (uneven skin tone) and sagging skin. Skin develops a tough, leathery appearance in those who live in sunny climates and don’t protect their skin over the years. No one consciously wants facial skin that looks like cowhide, but without protection, you’ll eventually look years older than you are. 

UVB rays produce direct damage to skin cells, causing sunburn. Researchers think that UVB rays produce most cases of skin cancer, although UVA rays may also play a role

Not all sunscreens are equal. Sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” have passed a rigorous test that proves they help block UVA and UVB rays. Many products don’t carry this label; avoid them. 

Sunscreen should have an SPF of 30 or higher 

The SPF designation means “sun protection factor.” Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 can filter out 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. No sunscreen can filter out all of the rays

Only if you use sunscreen properly will it protect you. Always put on your sunscreen about 15 minutes before you go out. If covering your whole body, as when you’re at the beach or pool, you need to use a full ounce of sunscreen — about as much as the size of a golf ball. Don’t forget the areas behind your ears, under your nose, the top of your head, your feet, and your lips.  

Read the fine print on the sunscreen 

Your sunscreen has directions for use. If your sunscreen says it’s water-resistant, it should state how long the sunscreen lasts in the water — either 40 minutes or 80 minutes. Reapply as necessary. If you towel off after being in the water, you’ll need more sunscreen.

For expert treatment of damaged skin and for preventive approaches to premature aging, call Lowcountry Plastic Surgery Center today or book an appointment online.

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