Many of our Atlanta patients ask us for recommendations about sunscreen and SPF both before and after treatments. So today we are sharing some thoughts and answering some of your questions about sunscreen.
The Australians say, “Slip-Slop-Slap” when it comes to stepping outside: Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunblock and slap on a hat! Summer is here and while we should be using SPF year round… let’s focus on now!
Does your face need a different sunscreen than your body?
Yes! Your face and body have two different skin textures and you have a higher propensity to breakout on your T Zone (forehead and nose). Because of the different textures and biology (T zone tends to be more oily) of each area it is important to choose a sunscreen that is designed for the more sensitive skin on your face and consider a different one for the body.
Does it make a difference if it’s chemical or physical i.e. mineral?
Yes! We have learned many chemicals can be dangerous and may get into our bloodstream. There is a fair amount of research now to see how that may effect our bodies. With that in mind we recommend a heavier amount of physical i.e. mineral SPF. There are lesser reactions, less absorption and more cohesive coverage for the physical sunscreens.
Does it matter if I use an SPF 30 even if I have darker skin?
Yes! The difference between 15 and 30 can seem insignificant. It’s not! Darker skin does not mean more inherent protection from the sun. The sun is exponentially hotter than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer and melanoma do not discriminate. Everyone is subject to sun damage. We always recommend at least an SPF of 30 for protection.
Do I need to wear sunscreen if it’s cold or cloudy outside?
Yes! 40 percent of the sun’s UV rays reach the earth even on a day that is completely cloudy. It is often on cloudy days that people receive the most serious sunburns, because people spend extended time outside without thinking about applying sunscreen. Don’t leave home without applying, even if it’s cloudy!
How much sunscreen should I apply and how often should I apply?
To ensure that you are protected you should to apply 1 oz of sunscreen (similar to a shot glass full). You should reapply the sunscreen every two hours. If you are spending a full day at the beach, expect to use one half or one quarter of an 8 oz bottle of sunscreen. The sunscreen should be first applied 20 min prior to sun exposure. This allows the ingredients to bind fully to the skin before you are in direct sunlight. Sunscreen should also be reapplied ff you are swimming, sweating or toweling off. Beware! There is no such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen. All sunscreens will eventually wash off. Sunscreens that are labeled “water resistant” have to undergo a special SPF test required by the FDA. These sunscreen labels are required to state how long the sunscreen is effective for (usually 40-80 minutes is typical). All sunscreens are required to provide instructions for application and reapplication.
This past February, the FDA finally proposed new sunscreen regulations- something that was long overdue. There are currently 16 UV Filters approved for use in the United States, compared to 29 in Europe. The FDA is seeking public comment and will have the final regulations by the end of November 2019.
The two major components to the proposal are:
- Having Zinc Oxide and Titanium as the two main active (physical) ingredients.
- Labeling – going forward it should be clearer to read active ingredients and companies will only be able to claim “Broad Spectrum” if the ingredients cover UVA rays.
The drive to meet the broad spectrum requirements that come with higher SPF’s will require manufacturer’s to up their game with unique formulations, better coverage and wear resistance to sweat and water.
The big question –
Whether consumers will adapt to the recommendation for more physical SPF’s. That is because the physical sunscreens do need to be reapplied more frequently – something that the average person has not typically done or been aware of.
Here at Y Plastic Surgery we proudly offer two out sourced SPF sunscreen options:
- South African based Environ broad spectrum SPF 30
This is a face and body sunscreen formulated with a combination of physical sunscreens as well as a unique phyto-complex to work synergistically in protecting the skin from harsh environmental influences and the damaging effects of the sun. This product provides a broad-spectrum transparent barrier that supplies the skin with essential nutrients that are necessary for enhanced skin protection. The texture is light and creamy and applies easily to the entire body for a non-greasy after-feel.
- Barcelona, Spain based ISDIN broad spectrum SPF 50 100% physical
This product is known for protecting against sun damage. Sun exposure is the leading reason for fine lines, dark spots and skin aging. For daily protection and to help address previous sun damage, apply Eryfotona Actinica, formulated with DNA repairsomes and vitamin E. It is a 100% mineral based sunscreen designed to have a light weight consistency with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection that won’t leave your skin feeling greasy.
Still have questions –
We are always happy to answer your questions online and in person. You can also call one of our offices at (404) 476-8774 (Alpharetta), (770) 954-8406 (Roswell), or (678) 737-4612 (Woodstock) to schedule an appointment.