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Choosing the best sunscreen for you & how to use it:

Sunscreen has been in the media a lot lately. From everything between the possible impact of sunscreen on coral reefs to the potential absorption of avobenzone from chemical sunscreens, they have been getting a lot of attention. To say the least.

Protecting yourself with daily sunscreen is something you should do and has been proven over and over again as a way to prevent skin cancer and premature aging. Those who don’t use it regularly are likely to regret it later in life. Your skin isn’t just a protective coating that is holding in all of your vital organs. Your skin itself is an organ—the largest one, in fact—and deserves the same care and protection as your heart, liver, and lungs. Having established this in light of sunscreen’s recent criticisms, you might start wondering about which sunscreens are safe, which ones will actually work, and which ones are the best for you and your family to protect this organ. This is why we wrote this blog for you.

Let’s break it down. There are two basic types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. And some sunscreens have a combination of both a physical and chemical blocker.

Physical sunscreen: A physical sunscreen is a sunscreen that sits on top of your skin and deflects the sun’s rays away from your skin. They do not interact with the skin, just invisibly sit on top of it.

Chemical sunscreen: A chemical sunscreen interacts with the ultraviolet rays that bombard your skin. When UV rays hit a chemical sunscreen, the UV rays are converted harmlessly into non-damaging compounds.

As a standard, you should always try to find a sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF and offers broad-spectrum protection. And all sunscreens should always be applied at least 15 minutes prior to going into water or doing an activity where you will be sweating.

Consider Your Skin Type:

If you have sensitive skin, or are using it on an older baby or child (young babies should not be taken outside in the heat or exposed to the sun), oftentimes a purely physical sunscreen will be better tolerated than a sunscreen that has chemical sunscreen ingredients.

If you have skin conditions like acne, rosacea, melasma, or skin allergies, you may consider speaking with your dermatologist to choose the right sunscreen for your specific condition. Some people may need to avoid specific ingredients, some may benefit from a gel, lotion, or cream-based product, and some may benefit from one type of sunscreen over the other.

To be frank, the best type of sunscreen is the sunscreen that you will use habitually. Find a sunscreen that you will use again and again.

How to Apply Sunscreen:

Here’s the thing about sunscreen: it only works if you use it properly. This sounds simple, but it is easy to forget about.

Spray sunscreen: Spray sunscreen is an option that many people use—especially parents. However, the problem with spray sunscreen is that we see a lot of people not applying it properly. Simply spraying the sunscreen on your skin isn’t enough. You still need to rub the sunscreen into your (or your child’s) skin and make sure that you have a sufficient coating applied on the skin before rubbing it in.

All sunscreens: Rub sunscreen in, reapply it liberally, and use waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen if you are going to sweat or swim. Anywhere you don’t have protective clothing, apply sunscreen. Every day.

How to Treat a Sunburn:

  1. Get out of the sun. If you already have a sun burn, you need to seek shade and protect your skin. Don’t go back out until you’ve completely healed.
  2. Take cool bath or shower and pat yourself dry–do not rub yourself; you could irritate your skin.
  3. Do not spray your skin with anything even if it supposed to cool your skin or numb the pain. You could burn your skin more with these types of products.
  4. Get a soothing cream moisturizer & use aloe. 
  5. Take NSAIDs if you are in pain.
  6. Moisturize frequently with a heavy cream.
  7. Visit your dermatologist for a professional cream if you are having irritation with your sunburn.
  8. Do NOT pop blisters. It could mean you have a second degree burn. In this instance, see your dermatologist as soon as possible! 
  9. Drink a lot of water – water evaporates more easily when your skin burned because it is lacking the external protective layer needed to hold the water in. Learn more about this protective barrier here!

If you aren’t sure which type of sunscreen is right for you, schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Green!

If you aren’t sure which type of sunscreen is right for you, schedule your complimentary consultation  with Dr. Green! You can schedule a consult with Dr. Green at (301) 610-0663 or you can schedule a complementary cosmetic consult!

The information contained in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute professional medical advice.