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How to Choose a Sunscreen (& How to Apply it)

Sunscreen is a hugely important tool in the fight against the adverse effects of the sun. It even protects against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. But not all sunscreens are created equal. You probably already know that expired sunscreen will do you no good, but you might not be sure how to choose a quality sunscreen.

First, toss last year’s bottles to eliminate any confusion. Then hit the store to find a new one. When you shop, look for the following to make sure your sunscreen choice makes the cut:

SPF 30 or higher: SPF stands for “sun protection factor”, and it indicates the product’s ability to screen or block the sun’s harmful rays. SPF 30 effectively screens 96.7 percent of UVB rays, so stick with that number or higher.

Broad Spectrum: This means the sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays, both of which cause cancer.

Water Resistant: Choose a sunscreen that is water resistant between 40 and 80 minutes. Bear in mind that sunscreens are no longer allowed to say they are “waterproof” or “sweatproof” because it is misleading.

After you’ve found proper sunscreen, you might need a refresher on how and when to apply it. Here are some tips:

  • Use enough! About an ounce (a shot glass full) will cover an average adult body. You need to slather it on all exposed areas. Don’t forget about hands, feet, neck and lips!
  • Apply sunscreen BEFORE going outdoors or being exposed to sunlight indoors.
  • You need to give the product 15 minutes to absorb so it effectively protects skin.
  • Reapply after two hours or after swimming or sweating excessively.

One last tip: Don’t wait until summertime to start using sunscreen–it really is a year-round necessity. Some part of you is exposed to the sun’s rays every day — when you’re driving in your car, walking from the parking lot to the grocery store, or even through the windows in your home or at work. So protect yourself before being exposed.

Tired of seeing evidence of sun damage on your skin? Austin-based Zimmet Vein & Dermatology offers peels, fractional resurfacing, microdermabrasion and pulsed light rejuvenation as solutions to the problems caused by sun damage.

Contact our office to set up a consultation and find out which treatment is best for you.

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