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Sunscreen, always a hot topic!

Top 3 important reasons to use sunscreen?

1. Large amounts of UV cause sunburns and contribute to skin cancers.

  • Exposure to UVA and UVB damages DNA makeup such as skin cells, can also produce genetic defects or mutations which can result in skin cancer or premature aging.

2. UVA and UVB rays suppress skin immune function of protection.

  • The more exposure means more melanin in our skin, which is great for summer color, but our skin darkens as a protection mechanism from UV rays. While tan is a desirable characteristic it can reduce the elasticity leading to premature aging.

3. UVA penetrates deeper and causes premature skin aging.

  • “Age Spots” or “Liver Spots” are most commonly associate to skin aging. These are the result of sun exposure with minimal protection. These effects are more detailed to reverse, but can be through prescribed creams, dermabrasion methods, etc.

Importance of Reapplication

Greater Regional Heath provides our community with a dermatology clinic that specializes in conditions involving the skin, hair, and nails. They treat things like, severe acne, red, itchy, and swollen skin, dry skin, skin growths and moles and skin cancer screenings. Mallory Kirscher, ARNP from the dermatology department shared some helpful tips to keep in mind for the importance of sunscreen reapplication.

Consider this, “10 minutes to burn without sunscreen and 150 minutes to burn with sunscreen that has a SPF at least 15. Appling sunscreen at least 30 minutes before exposure and reapply every 2 hours while exposed to UV. It takes the skin 20-30 minutes to absorb sunscreen,” said Mallory Kirscher, ARNP. Also, interesting, “Insect repellents reduce the sunscreen SPF, so when using together the sunscreen needs a higher SPF and reapplied more often than every 2 hours,” said Kirscher.

After swimming or sweating the chlorine and sweat break down the water-resistant sunscreen. Waterproof sunscreen still has properties that wash off, the SPF is the regulator. When swimming or sweating it comes back to the reapplication to maintain SPF to prevent sun effects.

Recommendations when picking sunscreen?

  • Sensitive skin? Use hypoallergenic/low irritant sunscreen.

  • Dry skin? Individuals would benefit from a sunscreen in a moisturizing cream or ointment.

  • Oily skin or acne prone, choose a sunscreen with lighter base such as alcohol-based lotion, spray or gel. Spray sunscreen/Lighter base sunscreen is better in areas with hair.

“Higher SPF such as 30 and 50 increases protection against UVB up to 97-98%,” said Kirscher.

Pediatrics on Sunscreen

GRH Pediatrics department also shared some parent safe products that could be of benefit to consider ingredients when choosing a sunscreen for outdoor summer fun activities! Our Pediatrics department here at GRH is equipped to assist with regular checkups to chronic issues that may arise. Brooke Martin, CPNP-PC said she “strives to care for patients and their families the same way I would want to be cared for.” Martin shares with you some recommendations for safe sunscreen.

“Safe sunscreens for parents to be aware of that are free of parabens and phthalates and mostly zinc oxide based like Babyganics Mineral-based sunscreen SPF 50+, Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Face Stick SPF 50, or Blue Lizard SPF 50 are some good ones,” said Brooke Martin, CPNP-PC. For more information and summer tips check out the American Academy of Pediatrics for sun safety children here.

Other helpful hints to keep in mind throughout the summer season are adding Vitamin D and Vitamin B3 Nicotinamide 500 mg. “This may offer skin care and skin cancer benefits by helping build proteins in the skin and offering protection against environmental damage,” said Kirscher. “Use sunscreen rain or shine. Always wear SPF 15 or higher in daily moisturizer,” said Kirscher.

If you have any skin care questions or would like to schedule an appointment you can find our dermatology page through our website here.