Posts for tag: sunscreen
One of the most common questions is “Do I need to apply sunscreen even if I don’t go outside?” The answer is yes and the reasons are described here.
How does the sun affect the skin?
The sun provides light and heat to allow us to live. The light emitted from the sun has many different colors or wavelengths, some of which are harmful to the skin. Specifically, UV rays (or ultraviolet rays) damage the skin over time. When UV rays reach the skin, they cause changes in the skin. The cells in the skin produce something called free radicals. Free radicals lead to a number of changes in the skin. They damage and degrade collagen, the protein in the skin that keeps the skin tight, firm, and youthful. As a result, the skin becomes loose and saggy and fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores are seen. Another change is the formation of dark discolorations, sometimes called sun spots. The harmful free radicals stimulate the skin to form these unsightly dark spots. Other effects include thinning of the skin, decreasing the skin’s protective barrier function, and leading to the formation of broken capillaries or generalized redness. In order to prevent all of these changes it is important to protect ourselves from the harmful UV rays.
What sunscreen should I use?
Dr. Alex recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day. Also make sure it has broad spectrum (or UVA and UVB) protection. Ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide such protection. If outdoors for long periods, reapply sunscreen every one to two hours. Also reapply if your skin gets wet such as when swimming. Avoid direct sun exposure and try to stay in the shade as much as possible when outdoors, especially during the middle of the ray when the UV rays are the strongest.
When should I apply sunscreen?
Many people feel that it is only necessary to apply sunscreen when doing certain activities such as going to the beach. But exposure to harmful UV rays occurs even with short exposure to the sun such as going outside to get the mail. It is also important to understand that the temperature is not related to the amount of UV rays. For example, although it may be cold in the winter months, there is still sun exposure so it is important to apply sunscreen during all four seasons. At the same time rainy weather does not block all UV rays. Many people do not apply sunscreen when it is overcast or raining. However, the harmful UV rays can penetrate the clouds and still damage the skin. Therefore, it is important to apply sunscreen on rainy days too. Also, UV rays penetrate through glass such as car windows and windshields. Although not technically outside when driving, you are getting exposure when driving. Additionally, many people work in offices where sunlight enters through windows, exposing them to harmful UV rays.
So even though you may think you’re not outdoors, you are still getting a lot of sun exposure. Over years, this exposure to harmful UV rays damages the skin, leading to changes associated with aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, uneven color, and redness. Applying sunscreen every day will prevent these changes.
Skin care during the summer months is extremely important. Sunlight can cause a lot of damage to the skin including fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer. So it is important to protect yourself every day.
Dr. Alex recommends applying a sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater such as the Alastin Hydratint sunscreen or Elta MD UV Clear sunscreen. Look for sunscreens that have broad spectrum protection. Remember that you are receiving sun exposure when inside a car through the windows. Apply a liberal amount of sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Don’t forget areas from the neck down which may be exposed such as the chest, back, arms, and legs. These areas can get sunburned too. If you are outdoors for prolonged periods, reapply sunscreen every two hours. Also reapply sunscreen if your skin gets wet such as when going in the swimming pool. Avoid sun exposure during the peak hours between 10 AM and 4 PM. When outside, try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Wear protective clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. Finally, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking six to eight cups of water daily.
Some of the most common concerns on the skin include fine lines, wrinkles, uneven color, and broken capillaries. The major cause of these concerns is sun damage which occurs during childhood. Therefore, it is important to begin protecting the skin at a young age.
The sun damages the skin in multiple rays. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage the cells by creating free radicals. These result in uneven color, dark spots, and age spots. They also lead to the formation of broken capillaries. In addition, UV rays damage collagen, the protein in the skin that is responsible for maintaining the tight and firm appearance. Over time the skin can become thick or thin, uneven in color and texture, and appear damaged. Therefore, it is important to protect the skin from the sun.
How to protect your skin from the sun
The most important thing a person can do to protect his/her skin from the sun is apply sunscreen every day. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day throughout the year, including the winter months. While it may be cold during the winter, there is still sun exposure and protection is important at all times. This also includes days in which it is overcast because UV rays can penetrate the clouds. It is also important to use a sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection, meaning that it protects against both UV rays that cause aging and UV rays that cause burning. Physical sunscreens such as those containing zinc and titanium are outstanding in this respect. If outdoors for prolonged periods, re-apply the sunscreen every two hours. This includes when driving because the UV rays penetrate through the windows and windshields. Protective clothing can also be worn to protect the skin and it is important to avoid sun exposure during the mid-day when the rays are the strongest.
Protecting Children’s Skin
Interestingly, the majority of a person’s sun exposure occurs during the first two decades of life. This is because children often play outdoors when in school or at camps. Therefore, it is critical to protect our children by applying sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied as early as six months of age. Physical sunscreens such as zinc and titanium work best because they have minimal risk for allergic reactions. While we have tools such as Botox, Voluma, and fractional CO2 laser resurfacing to address many concerns, it is much easier to prevent them in the first place by protecting the skin at an early age.