Sun Protection Tips

Sun Protection Tips to Help Prevent Skin Cancer

Exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer and sun damage in the form of wrinkles, brown spots, redness, and sagging skin.

Here are some tips and information from Dr. Irwin and her colleague at Madison Skin & Laser Center,  Dr. Heather Rogers:

  • Use a sunscreen on your face, neck, chest and hands daily.
  • Wear a hat that protects your face and ears—especially if you are losing hair.
  • Wear large close-fitting sunglasses with UV protection to protect against eye damage and wrinkles around the eyes.
  • Stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm, when the radiation is the strongest.
  • Cover up! Try UV protective clothing (a typical white T-shirt only has an SPF of 7).
  • Be sure that you take 2,000-3,000 units of vitamin D daily if you use regular sunscreen and live in the Northwest. Ask your primary care doctor or dermatologist to test your blood level of vitamin D.

Picking a Good Sunscreen

There are so many options, but the key is to find a sunscreen you like and will use regularly.

  • For daily wear if you are mostly inside, a facial moisturizer or sunscreen with SPF 30 is ideal and easy to use.
  • For days spent outdoors, a higher SPF with is recommended with “broad-spectrum” (better UVA) protection. Look for sunscreens zinc oxide or titanium (5% or greater). Or for sunscreens with Mexoryl 3% or “stabilized” Parsol/avobenzone. These all give excellent UVA and UVB protection.

Layering sunscreens is a very good idea in sun sensitive patients or patients prone to melasma. For example, after the application of a cream sunscreen apply a tinted powder sunscreen like the Colorescience SPF 30.

Sunscreen Options

Here is my short list of great sunscreens. Browse through them to find ones for your use, whether for outdoor sports or daily use, and for your skin type, whether dry or oily.

For outdoor occupations or athletes: SkinCeuticals Sport UV Defense SPF 45, Fallene CoTZ SPF 58 (pretty good price at $26), Estion Sunscreen with Zinc SPF 38 (only $15.50), SolBAR Zinc SPF 38, Neutrogena Helioplex SPF 55 and higher. Layer with Colorscience Powders for superb sun protection that is sweat resistant.

See Dr. Irwin’s expert answers to other reader’s questions on sun protection:
Are you blocking UVA too?
Is Heliocare helpful for added sun protection?
Does sunscreen need to go on first? Or does it matter?
Do I need a moisturizer with a sunscreen?
See all of Dr. Irwin’s expert answers on Sun Protection
Should I use Renova during the Summer?