Sun exposure isn't good for your skin.

Sun damage caused by ultraviolet rays can result in premature aging including wrinkles, brown spots, a "leathery" appearance, and dryness.  Perhaps more importantly with more than one million cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year, case studies have shown that there is a direct link between sunburns and enhanced risk for melanoma.  These facts make sunscreen one of the most important skin care products you can commit to early in life.   

Sunscreens are barriers which are applied to the skin.  They work by absorbing or reflecting the sun's UV rays away from your skin.  Sunscreens come in a wide variety of forms - creams, lotions, sprays, gels, and sticks - and there are many brands to choose from.  Medical grade sunscreens provide maximum protection from the UVA and UVB rays with a combination of physical and chemical ingredients.  Sunscreen does expire over a period of time so it is important to check your sunscreen to make sure it is clearly marked with an expiration date.

If you're considering a medical grade sunscreen, this outline will give you a basic understanding. It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient's skin. Dr. Walker is more than happy to clarify any misunderstandings, please contact her office with any questions or concerns you may have.

Sunscreen 101

Not all sunscreens are created equal.  Creams are more consistent compared to sprays or gels and are also often water-resistant, with broad-band spectrum protection.

Sunscreen should be applied all over, on a daily basis, no matter what the weather conditions.  UVA rays are out all year long while UVB rays are only active during certain months of the year.  UVB rays are known as the “burning rays,” but often times the UVA rays are the more damaging rays to the skin.  UVA rays suppress the immune system, which interferes with the spread of skin cancer.  These rays also lead to signs of premature aging.

Sunscreen should be applied 20-30 minutes before going out and should be applied on any skin that is going to be exposed.  Places people most often forget about include: the ears, hands, feet, neck, and eyelids.  

The best ingredients to look for in a sunscreen are as follows:

  • Avobenzone(Parsol 1789)
  • Cinoxate
  • Ecamsule(Mexoryl SX)
  • Menthyl Anthranilate
    Octyl Methoxycinnamate
  • Octyl Salicylate
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Zinc Oxide

These are the ingredients that test the highest in case studies for efficacy purposes.