ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Last month may have been Summer Sun Safety Month but, of course, here in Florida, we need to constantly keep the impact of the sun’s rays in mind.
Dr. Priya Nayyar, board-certified dermatologist and medical director and founder of Dermaclinique breaks down the dos and don’ts of sunscreen use.
- Do wear it! Everyone should be using sunscreen:
“It’s a common misconception if you’re my skin color and you’re light to say I don’t burn I’ve got this beautiful tan, well guess what, the sun can still penetrate the UV rays can still go down deep into the skin.”
- Do look for broad-spectrum coverage, with at least SPF 30:
“UVA rays, to keep it simple, go deep. UVB rays are sort of superficial and they burn so you want a sunscreen that will cover both rays. You want a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, now the 90s and 100 plus don’t necessarily confer as much protection as they sound like they would. I really think it’s more of a way to just charge more.”
“If you want a mineral-based sunscreen which is without the chemicals, that have Zinc and Titanium Dioxide. You can get any one you want, as long as those are the active ingredients. They’re safe, they protect UVA, they can be applied immediately and they’re good for sensitive skin.”
- Do make sure you’re using enough of it to cover exposed areas and use a teaspoon amount on your head:
“I always tell patients as you’re going from the parking lot of the grocery store to the entrance, even in that short period of time, you’re getting sun exposure and you’re getting sun damage. Don’t forget the scalp, face, ears, neck, décolletage area and the hands and anywhere near the skin clothing border.”
- Don’t get wrapped up in marketing ploys for babies, women, athletes:
“It’s usually all the same, something that’s marketed for a baby will most likely be a mineral-based sunscreen, so the Zinc and Titanium Dioxide. An adult mineral-based sunscreen is going to have the same ingredients.”
- Don’t get lazy and forget to rub it in and cover exposed areas:
“The other problem is people apply spray and they’re spraying all over the place and you don’t actually know how much is actually going on the body versus in the air around you.”
- Don’t rely solely on makeup for coverage, without checking its ingredients:
“Oftentimes the SPF in makeup is not sufficient. They’re usually SPF 15 or 20 and again, we want a 30 or higher.”
If you do experience a sunburn Dr. Nayyar says to keep your skin moisturized and avoid picking at flaky skin that often follows.
“You can use Vaseline or Aquaphor over the areas to soothe the skin but a lot of people physically pick off the peels and that will actually traumatize the skin more and delay wound healing,” she says.
For immediate symptoms, she offers this advice: “you can do cold compresses, you can take aspirin and we sometimes provide topical steroids to help with the immediate inflammation.”