The sunny summer months bring endless opportunities for outdoor play, from beach days to hiking in the hills. However, constant exposure to the sun's harmful rays can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. Regularly applying sunscreen is critical in protecting your skin from the sun's damaging effects.
Board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist Vicki Rapaport, MD, with Rapaport Dermatology of Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills and Culver City, CA, explains everything you need to know about using sunscreen correctly.
Choosing the right sunscreen
With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right sunscreen. Go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 30 or higher. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, choose a mineral-based sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Dr. Rapaport recommends using sunscreen after your moisturizer and before applying your makeup.
Make sure to check the expiration date, as expired sunscreen may be less effective.
How to apply sunscreen
Start with a generous amount and apply it evenly to all exposed areas of the skin. A general rule of thumb is to use about one ounce of sunscreen, about a shot glass full, to cover your entire body. For your face, use a nickel-sized amount and apply it to the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin.
Don’t miss those often forgotten spots, including:
- Tops of your feet
- Back of your neck
- Top of the head and the hairline
- Back of your hands
For hard-to-reach areas, such as your back, use a sunscreen spray or ask someone to help you.
How often to apply sunscreen
For maximum protection, reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if swimming or sweating. Even water-resistant sunscreens may not provide protection for as long as you think. To be safe, reapply after getting out of the water or towel-drying.
More ways to protect your skin from the sun
In addition to using sunscreen, other precautions to take include:
- Finding shade whenever possible.
- Limiting your exposure during the sun’s peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wearing UV-protective clothing
- Wearing sunglasses
Follow our tips and enjoy the beautiful weather while keeping your skin healthy and protected. For further questions and all of your skincare needs, contact Rapaport Dermatology of Beverly Hills to schedule an appointment today.