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  • Writer's pictureDr. K

Expert Answers To All Your Sunscreen Questions

Whether you’re laying out on the beach, sledding in the snow, or just going for a peaceful walk, it’s important to wear sunscreen. Regardless of your skin type or season, everybody must wear sunscreen to protect themselves from damaging sun exposure. We all have heard about the importance of sunscreen since we were kids, but many might not know how its powerful benefits work or the proper way to apply it. In this guide, we answer all your questions so you can stay safe while having fun in the sun.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

Sunscreen protects the skin through its active ingredients, which help prevent the sun’s UV radiation from reaching your skin. There are two main types of sunscreen with their own sets of active ingredients. The two types of sunscreen are physical (mineral) and chemical sunscreens. Both are effective, and here is how each works for you.

Physical sunscreens have titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as their active ingredients. These minerals block and scatter the rays before they penetrate your skin. The titanium dioxide and zinc oxide form a physical barrier against the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV rays).

Chemical sunscreens work differently than mineral sunscreens. These include active ingredients, such as avobenzone and octisalate, deactivate UV rays from penetrating the skin. The chemical properties of these ingredients absorb UV rays, acting like a sponge before they can damage your skin.

How Do I Properly Apply Sunscreen?

There are a few rules you must follow when applying sunscreen. First, you should make sure to put on sunscreen BEFORE you go outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for the skin to absorb the sunscreen. If you expose yourself too early after lathering up, your skin is not fully protected and can burn.

Secondly, make sure you use enough sunscreen. It’s recommended that adults use about one ounce, or enough to fill up a shot glass, to cover their entire body. Apply this amount of sunscreen to all areas of bare skin, like the neck, face, ears, and other exposed areas. Ask someone to help you if you can’t reach an area like your back.

If you are spending more than a few hours outdoors, you must reapply to the exposed areas of your body. A single coat of sunscreen isn’t as protective after two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Sunscreen?

If you are wondering what the benefits of sunscreen are, just know there are a lot. Sunscreen is not only vital for shielding the skin against sunburn, but it helps your skin look more youthful and is important for your health.

Many dermatologists say sunscreen is one of the best skin care products for slowing the signs of aging. Years of unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays will damage the cells of the skin’s top layer. This causes many unwanted effects like increased appearance of wrinkles, redness, and rough patches. When you make a habit of wearing sunscreen, you reduce the signs of aging.

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. The major types include carcinoma and melanoma, caused by sun damage to the DNA in our skin cells. Wearing sunscreen in every area of your body exposed to UV rays dramatically reduces the risk of developing skin cancer.

What Sunscreen Should I Use For Oily or Acne-Prone Skin?

While sunscreen’s main job is to protect the skin from UV rays, there is much more it can do. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, use sunscreen with an oil-free or mattifying moisturizer. Sunscreens with these added moisturizers help combat clogged pores and excess shine. Just make sure the moisturizer includes a sun protection factor (SPF) to protect your skin from sun damage.

What If I Have Dry Skin?

Many people experience dry skin at some point in their lives. Dryness can lead to flakiness and fine lines, but luckily, there are sunscreen options to help this. Choose a sunscreen with ingredients such as shea butter or glycerin to help soothe dryness. Using a product with hyaluronic acid can also help the skin retain moisture. It’s extra important for those with dry skin to use a moisturizer, as dry skin can compromise the skin barrier.

What’s The Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin?

The best sunscreen for sensitive skin depends on what ingredients cause you to break out. Some helpful advice is to choose a sunscreen with a simple formulation. Many with sensitive skin may prefer a physical (mineral) sunscreen that is less likely to irritate the skin than a chemical sunscreen. When it comes to products with an added fragrance, you may want to avoid these as well.

Does Sunscreen Stop Me From Tanning?

Most of the time, you can still tan while wearing sunscreen. There are two types of UV rays from the sun: A and B. UVB rays are shorter and primarily affect the top layer of the skin, resulting in a suntan. UVA rays can penetrate the skin deeper and are more responsible for injuring the skin layers.

Sunscreen protects against most UV rays, but a small number can still through. The sun rays that make it through can lead to a tan, even while wearing sunscreen. Be assured that you can still achieve that nice, tanned look while protecting your skin against damaging UV rays. Just make sure to continue applying sunscreen if you are lying out in the sun all day.

Find All Your Skincare Needs At New Image MD

We offer skin care and medical aesthetic services customized to your skin type and goals. Whether you want to reduce the signs of aging or give your appearance the boost it deserves, Dr. Jeniffer King and our team of aesthetic experts are here to help. Book a consultation by filling out our contact form or by calling (919)-240-7014.

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