Dr. Marie Jhin, a dermatologist in the SF Bay Area’s Premier Dermatology discusses how to be smart in the sun for this summer.
So how do I prepare my skin for a summer in the sun?
First, eat healthy foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide the essentials so your skin can have all the important vitamins and minerals. Keep hydrated, exercise and rest so that your skin’s natural defenses are at their peak performance.
Next, use a broad spectrum sunblock of SPF 30 or higher. Apply 15 minutes before heading out into the sun so your skin will absorb the block and work more effectively.
How do I protect my skin and still get a little color?
Even the best block won’t block 100% of the sun’s rays so you will always get some sun and some tan. If you want a boost, use a sunless tanner, bronzer or go to a spray-on tan salon.
You want to avoid burning so do all the things you’ve heard for years: wear and reapply a water resistant sunblock, wear sunglasses, avoid exposure during peak hours 10-4, wear a hat and don’t forget to use an SPF lip balm.
A tan signifies damage to the skin and that damage accumulates over time causing skin cancer, wrinkling and age spots.
What sunless tanners are best for men?
Look for one with DHA (dihydroxy acetone) but be sure to do a patch test to be sure it’s the right tone for you.
What is the difference in the various SPF levels?
There are 2 different kinds of UV rays: UVA penetrate deeper and cause wrinkling and sun spots / UVB are the primary cause of sunburn. That’s why you want to look for a “broad spectrum” sunblock that will filter both types. Some key ingredients to look for are: Avobenzone, Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX), Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide.
SPF refers to the Sun Protection Factor. It’s what filters the UVB rays that cause the “surface burn.” An SPF 2 screens 50% of the sun’s rays. That means, if you normally burn in 10 minutes without any block then it would take you 20 minutes to get the same amount of burn. SPF 15 screens 93%. That means the SPF factor of 15 x 10 minutes of sun = 150 minutes of protection (or 2 1/2 hours). That is why the recommended SPF is 30. With this protection it would take 5 hours to get the same amount of burn/damage you’d get if you went unprotected. We recommend reapplying every 2 hours since most tested blocks start to break down and lose effectiveness after this amount of time. Sunblock has a shelf life, check the expiration date.
And what is the best treatment for sunburn?
If you have redness and peeling then: take a cool bath, use pure aloe vera from the plant (not processed). For a mild burn, you can take Ibuprofen for the discomfort and a hydrocortisone cream for the inflammation, If you have blisters, it is best not to pop them. If you experience fever or chills these could signify an infection – call your dermatologist or go to the emergency room.
A tan may look good temporarily but it’s permanently bad for you.
If you’d like more information on sunscreen options or come in for a skin cancer screening. Please contact Robert, our Patient Manager to schedule an appointment. He can be reached at email@example.com or 415-371-8600 (SF office) /650-551-9700 (Peninsula office)