Sunscreen helps fight skin cancer, including melanoma, its deadliest form. “Understanding how sunscreen works can help you better protect your skin, reducing the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging,” says Dr. Rebecca Bremner of The Oregon Clinic Portland Dermatology. Our physicians recommend regular use of broad-spectrum sunscreens on sun-exposed skin to help prevent skin cancer and slow visible signs of aging.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SUNSCREEN
To give the best protection, sunscreen should be SPF 50+ and broad spectrum (meaning able to protect against both UVA and UVB). The SPF only refers to how well a sunscreen protects against UVB.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I APPLY SUNSCREEN?
Sunscreens lose their effectiveness after a few hours in the sun. You should apply ample amounts of sunscreen every 2 hours, even if you’re not sweating or swimming. We recommend applying sunscreen prior to sun exposure and reapplying every 2 hours. Apply before leaving the house and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen before spending prolonged time in the car, since UVA passes through the glass windows and can harm the skin.
HOW MUCH SUNSCREEN DO I NEED?
About 1 ounce—a shot glass full or a large adult handful—should be enough to cover an adult’s entire body.
LOOK FOR THESE KEY UVA-BLOCKING INGREDIENTS:
- Zinc oxide
- Titanium dioxide
AVOID DIRECT SUNLIGHT & WEAR SUN-PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Avoid midday sun exposure and cover up with clothing, a broad-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Thorough sun protection requires multiple elements: effective sunscreen, protective clothing and avoiding peak UV hours between 10 am and 2 pm, when the rays are most harmful.