Believe it or not, summer will be here sooner than we think. To help usher in spring, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a refresher on how to select and apply sunscreen. Rain or shine, sunscreen should be your best friend. Not only does sunscreen help prevent skin cancer, it also helps prevent wrinkles!! However, it is not effective unless it’s applied correctly. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter, so sunscreen should really be used year round. Remember, Healthy Skin is In!

Sunscreen, sun, screen.

Want to know how to select the best sunscreen? The infographic on the left from the American Academy of Dermatology offers helpful tips on how to select the best sunscreen.  In addition, the American Academy of Dermatology Recommendations for Sunscreen Application are below:

  1. Choose sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum coverage, which means it protects you from UVA and UVB rays.
  2. Apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn.
  3. Use enough sunscreen. Most adults need at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount you can hold in your palm, to fully cover all exposed areas of your body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.  Tip:  A family of four should finish an average sized bottle of sunscreen during a full day at the beach!
  4. Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. For hard‐to‐reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray sunscreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide‐brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with a SPF of at least 15.
  5. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours to remain protected, or immediately after swimming or excessively sweating.

Consumer Reports recently issued their 2016 Sunscreen Guide and the results may surprise many.  It turns out that many sunscreens do not live up to the SPF claimed on the label.  The report does generally show that mineral based sunblock is not as effective as the chemical options and they actually suggest using a chemical version for the best protection.  However, I disagree.  My advice for choosing the best sunblock for your kids holds true (no chemicals!) and I encourage you to create a layered approach to sun safety – sunscreen should not be the only layer!  Avoiding the sun during peak hours, using hats, and wearing thickly woven clothing will all help to protect your skin. 

To see the full list all 70 sunscreen’s reviewed by the Consumer Reports you need to pay for a subscription.  I’ve summarized a few of my favorites (and not so favorites) below.

In my quest to help everybody get their skin ready for summer, I’m hosting a giveaway this month!  Don’t miss your chance to win a set of fantastic products from the HydroPeptide body therapeutics line.  I have been using these products for a few weeks now and am loving the difference they make!

You can enter the giveaway here

Dermatologist Boston

Hyde Park Dermatology

Black Dermatologist

Canton Dermatologists

African American Dermatologist