Friday, August 19, 2011

Sunscreen FAQs answered

I have been coating myself with sunscreen every morning since the age of 14. We don't even want to hazard a guess at the number of gallons involved. But has it been enough? I have questions, you have questions, we all have questions. Who has the answers? Let's check with a top dermatologist!

From Dr. Michael Gold, dermatologist and dermasurgeon:

My question for Dr. Gold: I work in an office with no windows (yes, it is not great). I apply sunblock in the morning, around 6 am. Do I need to re-apply before my drive home at 3:30 pm?

    • His answer: "I would say definitely yes – especially since there is still plenty of sun in the afternoon – especially in the summer.  The best defense we have for skin cancer prevention is sunscreen and we know that it  does not last all day, so even if you were inside without windows all day I would recommend reapplying before you leave at the end of the day."

Other Questions answered:
  • If I wear moisturizer with SPF 15 everyday is it going to be enough for the summer? 
    • I would recommend an SPF of 30 minimum, but use a sunscreen as well.
  • Should I try to find a moisturizer with a higher SPF or do I need to wear a sunscreen and forget moisturizer altogether? 
    • Moisturizing the skin, especially in summer, is essential. Aim for moisturizer and a sunscreen.
  • What if I have acne-prone skin?  Does non-comedogenic sunscreen really work?  
    • For the most part, yes.  If it is non-comedogenic, it has no active acne-causing ingredients.  This will be great for almost everyone who has acne, acne-prone skin, or even sensitive skin.  However, it is not a perfect science – someone will be breaking out even with these labels. 
  • Why do I tend to feel greasy even with oil-free sunscreen on? 
    • Because most sunscreens have ingredients which, on certain people, make their skin feel oily – not much you can do about it – trial and error to determine which ones will not make you oily. 
  • Can you recommend some specific sunscreens that are good for summer?   
    • I like Coppertone Sport 50 (they have 30-100) – it is a spray and I like sprays.  Others would be Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Spray – up to SPF 100 – we want them to be UVB and UVA – both of these are. 
  • What SPF should I be looking for?  
    • SPF 30 or above – if skin cancer or pre-skin cancer history – I usually recommend SPF 50 or above --- plus broad spectrum, covering UVA and UVB.
  • Is the recommended SPF different for face and body? 
    • No – it is okay to use the same for both. 
  • I want to protect the area under my eyes. Is it safe and effective to simply use a moisturizer with SPF on that area or do I need a totally new product? 
    • Yes, if the moisturizer has a sufficient SPF.

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