Here’s Why You Should Wear Sunscreen

Staying on top of your skin care routine is important 365 days a year, but consistency is especially key during the year’s hottest season. As summer approaches, here is some practical information about sunscreen to help you keep your skin fresh and healthy.

Why should I use sunscreen?

Regardless of gender, race, or age, protective skin care products are a must. Don’t believe it? Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., and one of the deadliest. One in five Americans develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and five or more sunburns double your risk for melanoma, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In order to avoid becoming a part of that daunting statistic, here are some things you can do:

  • Apply SPF-30 (or higher) sunscreen to your face and body, daily
  • Use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays
  • Pick a sunscreen that is water resistant

Choosing a sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays is important. Check out the chart below, which shows the difference between the two types of rays

UVA (Ultraviolet A)UVB (Ultraviolet B)
Penetrates deeper into the skinDamages the outermost layers of the skin
Cause wrinkles, sunspots, and some skin cancersCauses sunburns and most skin cancers
Can penetrate windowsCannot penetrate glass; Can be filtered

Spray or lotion?

There has been an ongoing debate over the effectiveness of spray and lotion sunscreens. Lotions have typically been known as the more protective option because you can actually measure how much you’re applying. Spray sunscreens have raised concerns over full coverage and the dangers of inhaling aerosols. As an FYI, the American Academy of Dermatology says adults need about one ounce of sunscreen to cover their entire body, and it should be reapplied every two hours. (For all of you who use the one-and-done method, take note!) Dr. Albert Yan, a pediatric dermatologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Pediatric Dermatology, takes a practical approach and says if someone is only willing to use sunscreen spray, that’s better than nothing at all. 

I’ve never been sunburned, so I’m fine, right?

Photo: Skin Cancer Foundation

False! No matter what skin type you have, everyone can be affected by harmful UV radiation. If you’re unsure about your skin type, take this quiz, which is based on the Fitzpatrick scale, a skin classification system based on skin pigmentation that was developed in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, the regarded “father of modern academic dermatology.” Individuals that fall within skin types I and II (lighter skin) are at higher risk than those with skin types V and VI (darker skin). But don’t be fooled! Although skin cancer is less common in those with darker skin tones, UV radiation affects everyone. So if you’re reading this, no matter who you are, make sure to use a 30+ SPF sunscreen daily that protects against UVA and UVB rays. You’ll thank us later!