Warmer weather is here and with it we know many of you will start resuming outdoor activities, vacations, and generally start spending more time in the sun. While you should apply sunscreen everyday, year-round, we want to answer a few frequently asked questions as we go into Spring.
- What type of sunscreen should I use?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant and has broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
- Do higher SPF sunscreens protect skin more than lower ones?
An SPF of 30 protects against 97% of the sun’s UVB rays. The higher the SPF number after 30 protects slightly more UVB rays, but no sunscreen can protect against all of the sun’s rays. That’s why in addition to wearing sunscreen, we recommend taking breaks in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding sun during peak hours of 10am-2pm.
- Can I use the same sunscreen I bought last summer? Does sunscreen lose its strength?
You should apply sunscreen everyday, not just during the summer! So, one bottle really shouldn’t last from summer to summer. However, the FDA requires that all sunscreen last at its original strength for at least three years. You should still double check to see if your bottle has an expiration date, as some bottles do. If the expiration date is past, throw it out. Lastly, look for visible signs that sunscreen is no longer good, such as visible signs of changes in color or consistency.
- What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens?
Chemical sunscreens contain an active ingredient that works to absorb the sun’s rays. They tend to be easier to rub in without leaving a white residue. Physical sunscreens sit on top of skin and work as a shield by blocking the sun’s rays and are better suited for those with sensitive skin.
- Are spray sunscreens safe?
Spray sunscreen has been evaluated by the FDA as being safe and effective when properly applied. The challenge is making sure that you have used enough sunscreen to cover all of the exposed areas of your body, since you are not measuring out physical sunscreen like you do with a lotion. To avoid inhalation, never spray sunscreen around your face or mouth, instead spray the sunscreen into your hands then apply it to your face.
Not sure which sunscreen to pick up for your skin’s needs? Stop by our office! We have a wide-variety of options that come recommended by our staff.
Savannah River Dermatology is located at 575 Furys Ferry Rd in Augusta, Ga. For appointments, questions, or to find out about available skin care products and prices, our office can be reached at 706-691-7079.