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Sunscreen: Which One Should I Wear? - Dr. Heck

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Dr. Heck describes the type of sunscreen a woman should be wearing.

Dr. Heck:
Sunscreen is one of the most important anti-aging creams there is. The sun accounts for 80% of our aging and the sun also gives us skin cancer so by applying sunscreen daily, we minimize the risk of skin cancers.

It’s important to make it a part of your daily routine. Every morning, prior to putting make up on, after washing the face, apply a liberal coat of sunscreen to face, neck, ears if the hair’s back, arms if the arms are expose; any exposed body area. And often patients apply a lot less sunscreen than they should.

People usually use 25 to 50% of their recommended application - a one-ounce application to cover face, neck and exposed arms and legs Is recommended, and that would be enough to fit in a shock glass.

Choice of sunscreen is also very important. You want to make sure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum. I do prefer mineral blocking agents on the face and neck because they don’t contribute so much to free radical formation. So something with the zinc oxide or titanium dioxide or a blend of the two. I do like Avobenzone or Parsol as an active ingredient for the body.

SPF 30 or higher is the SPF generally recommended by dermatologists. If you apply an SPF 15 correctly you block 93% of the rays. If you apply an SPF 30 correctly you block 97% of the rays. So it really is a law of diminishing returns once you get over 15, but since most people don’t apply the sunscreen correctly to begin with, I prefer the 30 over the 15 because if you apply a 30 incorrectly I figure you at least get a 15.

You can absolutely still get sunburned on a cloudy day. When the clouds are in the sky you still feel 80% of the UV radiation coming through and it’s even more dangerous because you don’t feel the heat so people tend to stay out longer thinking that it’s safe and that’s why people burn frequently on cloudy days.

About Dr. Shannon Heck, M.D.:
Shannon Heck, M.D., F.A.A.D., is a board certified dermatologist and a partner in a large, thriving dermatologic practice in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. She specializes in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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