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We all like to master tasks; to take pride in doing something to the best of our ability. There may be no better area to show your skills than when it comes to your health and wellness. Your skin is a big part of that. In this area, the skill that needs to be mastered is the use of sunscreen. You probably have a bottle of sunscreen in the house someplace. You may even use it when you go out for a day or when you go on vacation. But are you going at it with your all?

When we look at the numbers of skin cancer cases that are diagnosed each year, we have to say there is room to grow regarding practice. It is estimated that 90% of the skin cancer diagnosis that occur each year stem from UV exposure. That is a lot of unnecessary skin cancer! Let’s look at what you could do to maximize your sun protection habits.

Basic Details

Sunscreen works by either scattering or blocking light or by morphing light into heat when it hits the skin. Ingredients considered physical sunblock include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Chemicals that filter light include PABA and cinnamates. You don’t have to go into too much detail in choose a physical or chemical sunscreen. This is your preference. What you do need to pay attention to is terminology.

Perhaps the most important bit of information you want to see on your sunscreen tube is the term “broad spectrum.” This indicates that the product contains ingredients that filter UVA light as well as UVB light.

Unique Details

Depending on your skin type, you may need a little something different than the next person.

  • If your skin is on the dry side, a moisturizing sunscreen may be a good choice. Ingredients like dimethicone and lanolin indicate this.
  • If you are prone to acne or have allergies or rosacea, your skin may be slightly sensitive. PABA and oxybenzone may cause irritation, so look for products without them. A physical sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide may be a better choice.
  • Having fair skin does not mean you need SPF 100. SPF 50 filters 98% of UV light and, if applied frequently, should prevent damage and sunburn.
  • Having dark skin does not mean you do not need sunscreen. Skin cancer may occur on very dark skin that has not been protected. SPF 15 or 30 is still warranted.
  • If your skin is aging, moisturizing is beneficial. Most important is your use of broad-spectrum sunscreen. Daily! No exceptions.
  • If you have children, know that their needs may differ from yours. Children may develop a rash from PABA or oxybenzone. If this occurs, switching to a physical sunscreen should remedy the problem.

Call Westport Dermatology for help managing your skin health.

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