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  • Writer's pictureachrisman

The Truth About SPF

Sunscreens are products that contain ingredients to prevent from UV damage to the skin. Patients should protect from both wavelengths of UV exposure, UVA and UVB. UVA is the longer wave that produces skin aging, damage, and can cause skin cancer. UVB is a shorter wave that produces sunburn and can also cause skin cancer. You should only use "Broad-Spectrum" sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB wavelengths.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It measures the sunscreens ability to protect from UVB, the "burning wavelength". If an unprotected individual begins to burn at 20 minutes, a patient with a SPF of 30 should be protected 30 times longer before they burn.

Buyer Beware! Although the bottle says you are protected 30 times longer. No sunscreen, no matter the strength, can be trusted to remain effective without reapplication every 2 hours. Also, remember just because you didn't "burn" does not mean your skin did not receive damage through UVA exposure. Another reason for frequent reapplication.


Look for Zinc and Titanium Dioxide as active ingredients

SPF of at least 30

Apply 30 minutes before exposure and Reapply every 2 hours.

Use 1 oz or a shot glass full with every application

Reapply after swimming and sweating a great amount

Receive regular yearly skin exams with Golden Rule Skin Clinic, P.C. and watch for non-healing lesions or rapidly changing moles.


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