By now, you know the importance of wearing sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation explains that using it properly decreases your risk of skin cancer, including the deadliest type: melanoma. But squeezing sunblock into an already-packed daily routine can seem tricky, not to mention the fact that there are several guidelines to bear in mind. We’re sharing here some tips to make your sunscreen regimen more manageable.
Simple Ways to Make Sunscreen a Priority
Start with the Basics
At a minimum, The American Academy of Dermatology notes that these factors are key ingredients for your sunscreen to help protect against skin cancer:
- SPF of 30 or higher
- Broad-spectrum protection to block both UVA and UVB rays
- Water resistance
Find a Product You Love
Once you have the basics in place, you can be a bit more selective about the brand and other ingredients. After all, you’ll be more inclined to apply sunscreen daily if you actually like the product. Elizabeth Hale, MD, board certified dermatologist tells Healthline that mineral-based formulas, such as those with zinc oxide, “are often recommended for people with skin sensitivities, including acne, and are gentle enough to use on children.” They do tend to have a chalky finish that can transfer to other surfaces, but newer solutions are a bit more sheer. You may also find a tinted version to blend with your skin tone.
While mineral sunscreens work by creating a physical barrier against the sun’s rays, chemical formulas have UV filters that are then absorbed into the skin. In recent years, there has been some concern over the safety of these ingredients. As a result, in 2019, the FDA proposed new rules to update regulatory requirements for sunscreen safety. Researchers are still investigating the long-term effects of some active ingredients, but for now, there’s no conclusive evidence that they pose risks of adverse health outcomes.
To that end, Dr. Nana Duffy, MD, FAAD advises in Healthline that the best type of sunscreen is the one you’ll actually use. Many people are drawn to lightweight, non-greasy formulas. You might also consider a fragrance-free option to avoid any strong chemical odors.
Rely on Clothing
Sunscreen is most important for bare skin that will be exposed to the sun’s rays for extended periods of time. Chances are you won’t need sunscreen on your midriff every day, for example. Unless you’re heading to the beach or sitting poolside, rely on UV-blocking clothing to do most of the work for you instead. (But UV-protective clothing can still add extra protection those cases, too — particularly for children.)
Master the Application
On days when you will be less covered up, consider applying sunscreen right before you get dressed. That way, you won’t have to worry about getting the product on your bathing suit or clothing. It will also give you enough time for the sunscreen to settle on the skin and start protecting you, which experts say is about 15 minutes. For hard-to-reach areas such as your back, ask someone for help or use a spray product for application.
Keep a Spare on Hand
Board-certified dermatologist and director of Ethnic Skin Care at the University of Miami Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD, advises Prevention readers that you must reapply sunscreen every two hours to achieve full protection, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating. Keep a spare tube on hand for easy reapplication. You might keep one in your bag, car, or work desk.
The providers at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes are here to make preventive wellness as simple as possible while providing personalized patient care. To schedule an appointment, call (336) 593-2831, or reach out to us online to learn more about our services.