By Joe Cari, PA-C
You don’t need a dermatologist to tell you sunscreen is important. All of us hear that message constantly, and we all know that it’s one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer. I have found, however, that not everyone applies sunscreen properly. This summer, I want to share 5 sunscreen tips.
(1) Find a sunscreen you love.
I find that many of my patients won’t wear their sunscreen because they don’t like how it feels. The days of goopy, white sunscreen are over, and with a little trial and error, I’m confident you will find a sunscreen you want to wear every day. There is now a myriad of options whether you like liquid or creamy, sheer or tinted, light, or moisturizing. If in doubt, come to our Briargate office and try our myriad of testers. If you don’t love your sunscreen, you won’t wear it. So take some time to find one that you like.
(2) Look for the magic words: SPF 30+ and broad spectrum.
This will provide you with high protection against both UVA and UVB rays. For more info on how to read sunscreen labels and pick a sunscreen, read this earlier blog.
(3) Don’t forget important body parts.
I’ve diagnosed many skin cancers over the years, and I notice there are certain areas people tend to neglect. First, the nose. This is an area that is commonly sunburned and a common area for skin cancer. Next, around the eyes. Applying sunscreen around the eyes also helps you look younger, because the sun’s UV rays can break down collagen and make skin appear looser and creepier. This is particularly apparent around the eyes where the skin is thinner. Third, apply sunscreen to your ears. In a recent study of 2,785 patients, the ears were the third most frequent location for basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. Men are at greater risk than women, because of their shorter hairstyles. You should apply sunscreen daily to the front of the ear, the back of the ear, and on the rim of the ear. Those are all areas that are all risk.
(4) Two times the charm.
Sunscreen is not a product to scrimp on, and most people do not apply enough to achieve SPF 30+ protection. To achieve the desired SPF, you have to layer. Put on a layer of sunscreen, and rub it in. Then, do it again.
(5) Watch out during drive time and indoor time.
More skin cancers develop on the left side of the face, because that is the side that faces the window when driving. You may think that if you spend all your time indoors or in the car, you are protected. However, UVA/UVB rays will go right through windshields and windows. If you have a long drive or sit in front of a window at work, wear your sunscreen.
The better you are about wearing your sunscreen, the less time you will spend in a dermatology office.
Joe Cari, PA-C is an experienced dermatology physician assistant who treats a range of medical skin conditions. He believes in providing patients with the best possible patient care experience by educating and involving them in their care while finding the best treatment options suited to their individual needs.