Even during the times this summer that have brought us rainy and cloudy weather, we at Maine Laser Skin Care still receive lots of questions about sunscreen and our recommendations for usage. As you may know, sunscreens are measured by a term called SPF, which stands for sun protection factor.
We generally recommend a minimum SPF of 30, which blocks 97% of UVB rays. An SPF of 50 blocks 98% of such rays.
While many makeups and moisturizers contain sunscreen, you need to be absolutely sure that they provide an SPF of at least 30. A lot of makeup brands that claim to have SPF, but don't specify a number, can be as low as 5 to 15, and are probably not significantly effective.
We here at Maine Laser Skin Care also generally recommend mineral sunscreens, which contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The FDA has deemed mineral sunscreens as safe in that they sit on the skin and are not absorbed while at the same time blocking the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Mineral sunscreens also make sense. You are putting something on your skin that will actually block the ultraviolet rays and reflect them back away from the skin.
Zinc oxide is also considered to be a broad-spectrum sunscreen in that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. By blocking both types of ultraviolet rays, this mineral prevents the DNA damaging aspects that can cause skin cancer and the photo aging damage that can cause accelerated wrinkles and pigment changes.
Another important but frequently neglected aspect of sunscreen use is reapplying. This is especially true if you will be outside for prolonged periods of time in the summer. Activities such as swimming can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen even if they are considered water resistant.
It is also important to avoid direct sunlight in the middle of the day (10 AM to 2 PM) when the sun’s rays are strongest. Wearing UV protective clothing and hats also complement the sunscreen.
Have fun out there but make sure to protect your investment in your skin. We at Maine Laser Skin Care want you to look good while enjoying the beautiful summer in Maine or wherever you spend your time outdoors.