In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basic errors commonly made during sunscreen application or use, particularly by those looking to keep the skin healthy and protected before or after a recent medical spa treatment. Sunscreen is a vital part of skin care on a regular basis, but the wrong approaches taken can lead to significant risks to the skin.
At the offices of Steven Jepson MD, we’re happy to offer a variety of anti-aging skin care products in addition to our Botox and laser treatment services, plus expertise on a wide variety of other skin care solutions – and sunscreen is a common area we’re asked about by our med spa patients. Today’s part two features a few additional errors sometimes made with regard to sunscreen, both for those recovering from a recent medical spa procedure and just for general daily skin care.
One thing many aren’t aware of when it comes to sunscreen: Even if you buy the highest SPF available to you, the vast majority of sunscreens will only protect your skin for a maximum of about two hours – and possibly even less depending on your skin tone. If you take part in physical activity that causes you to sweat, or if you’re in a pool or another swimming situation, sunscreen may last for even shorter periods.
For this reason, reapplication of sunscreen is vital, particularly during longer periods of sun exposure or any kind of activity. Many planning for a long day in the sun will set periodic reminders on their phone to reapply every so often.
Avoiding Sunscreen on Cloudy Days
Some are under the impression that if the sun isn’t directly shining on their skin, with no blockages of any kind, it’s not creating damage. This isn’t the case, though – UVA rays, which are responsible for a huge percentage of skin aging conditions, can penetrate clouds, thin glass and even certain translucent forms of clothing. UVC rays that are known to cause cancer can also easily shine through clouds.
This means it’s very important to wear sunscreen if you’ll be outside for a long period, even if it’s cloudy. It’s better to be safe than sorry here, after all.
Finally, there are some who don’t quite understand what SPF means. It stands for sun protection factor, and refers to a multiplier for your skin’s natural sun protection – SPF 30, then, means your skin will be protected 30 times greater than their natural protection.
This means that SPF’s impact on each individual varies completely based on their natural skin tone. Medium or dark skin tones may not burn as often, but still need SPF to prevent aging, pigmentation and cancers – while those with lighter tones carry all these same risks plus greater potential for burning.