CNN just posted an article on summer sun health called “Sunscreen 101: Your guide to summer sun protection and sunburn care” and featured comments from Dr. Kurirtzky.
Skin cancer is now the most common cancer, and so sun protection is vital to put on your to-do list. The article focuses on five main topics:How to prevent sunburn
- SPF recommendations
- Best sunscreens for your summer
- How to treat a sunburn
- Debunking sunscreen myths
SPF is essentially a calculation of the additional protection sunscreen gives its wearer compared with bare skin, says Dr. Alexandra Kuritzky, a dermatologist in Vancouver and a clinical instructor in the Department of Dermatology and Skin Science at the University of British Columbia.
“It’s a multiplier, and it’s unique to the individual, because if one individual might be able to, say, spend 30 minutes outside before they sunburn, their SPF 30 product, for instance, is going to protect them for longer than it would an individual who burns after 10 minutes with sun exposure,” she added.
One ounce of sunscreen is considered the amount needed to cover exposed areas of the body.
For spray-on sunscreen, an ounce can be hard to estimate, so Kuritzky says to apply it “as if you’re spray-painting,” making sure to rub it in with your hands afterward and taking care to avoid inhaling the product.
Sunscreens may also advertise “physical” or “chemical” protection, which refers to whether they put a physical barrier — such as with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide — between your skin and the sun, or a chemical one — with oxybenzone or octinoxate, for example. While earlier sunscreens provided purely physical protection (think the white cream that lifeguards put on their noses), most modern ones combine physical and chemical protection for aesthetic purposes, Kuritzky said.
Debunking myth No.1 – Sun protection is important only sometimes.
People need to use sunscreen year-round, rain or shine: Skin protection can be vital even indoors, Kuritzky said. Window glass blocks UVB radiation, but UVA rays can still penetrate, which over time causes the skin to thicken and wrinkle.