We all know that wearing sunscreen each day is an important part of preventing skin cancer as well as premature signs of aging. For many women, that means choosing makeup with SPF built in. However, experts now say that the sunscreen included in your makeup is not enough to protect your skin on its own.
The primary reason is that most of us only use a small amount of foundation or BB cream–much less than we would put on our skin if we were applying sunscreen alone. Experts estimate that you’d need to use seven times your normal amount of foundation to get the coverage you need to protect your skin. In addition, many people don’t reapply makeup during the day, while sunscreen is typically only effective when reapplied every two hours.
So if makeup isn’t enough, what should you be doing to protect your skin? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, everyone should use a daily sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 that is water resistant. While sunscreens with higher SPF do offer a little more protection, those higher than 60 don’t offer any additional benefits. Look for a brand labeled “broad spectrum protection,” which blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Avoid sunscreen sprays; the Food and Drug Administration is still evaluating these products, and is concerned that they do not allow enough of the sunscreen to make it onto your skin.
Applying sunscreen properly is also important. You should use about one ounce, which is enough to fill a shot glass, and apply to all exposed areas of skin about 15 minutes before you go outside. Remember that sunscreen does expire, so check the date on the bottle each year before you plan to go out in the sun.
In addition to sunscreen, you should cover as much of your skin as possible with light colored, loose fitting clothing when out in the sun, as well as a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses. If you’re at risk for developing skin cancer, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., which are the peak hours for sun damage.
A good solution for many women is to opt for a moisturizer with sunscreen rather than relying on makeup with sunscreen. Just make sure that if you go this route, to use plenty and reapply frequently, especially if you’ve been sweating or go swimming.
At Dermatology Associates, we understand the importance of skin care and sun safety. Sun damage not only leads to premature signs of aging, but also can lead to skin cancer. Protect yourself from the sun every day, not just at the beach or the pool. We provide dermatology services and cosmetic treatments to help you keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Contact Dermatology Associates today to schedule a consultation with a member of our medical team.