With summertime activities in full swing, it’s more important now than ever to make sure you’re protecting your skin. We sat down to talk with Dr. Peyton Card to ask a few common questions about sunscreen best practices.
Q. There are so many types of sunscreen out there, how do you know which kind to choose?
A. I recommend using a mineral-based (zinc oxide or titanium oxide) sunscreen. It’s the best option right now. Mineral-based sunscreens work by making a protective layer on top of your skin, so not as much is absorbed into your body. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF, or sun protection factor, of at least 30. There is debate over the efficiency of going above 50 SPF. Try to make sure the sunscreen is water and sweat resistant.
Q. How soon prior to sun exposure should sunscreen be applied?
A. Aim to apply sunscreen thirty minutes before sun exposure, if possible. If you can’t apply half an hour prior, just apply when you can. Any amount is better than none.
Q. How often should you reapply?
A. How often you reapply depends on if you’re in or out of the water. If you’re not in the water, you can apply every couple of hours. If you’re in the water or sweating, it will wear off quicker, so aim to reapply every forty minutes to an hour. The more frequent the better. Err on the side of caution when it comes to sun exposure.
Q. If you have darker skin and don’t burn easily, do you still need to wear sunscreen?
A. YES! All skin types benefit from sunscreen. You don’t have to burn in order for cancer-forming sun damage to occur. Sun rays can still damage skin through the clouds, too.
Q. What kind of sunscreen do you recommend for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin?
A. A zinc oxide sunscreen should be okay on sensitive skin. Those with acne may benefit from alcohol-based sunscreens to avoid breakouts. Clothing is another great option to minimize sun exposure. Long sleeved, dark, tight knit fabrics block sun rays best.
As you enjoy this summer with outdoor activities, don’t forget these sunscreen best practices. For more great advice on your health, check out our other heart health tips from Arkansas Heart Hospital’s experts.