Sunscreen Safety Tips

The number of cases of skin cancer in the United States continues to rise. It affects millions of people each and every year and is one of the most common types of cancers in our country. To reduce your chances of developing skin cancer, it’s imperative that you wear sunscreen and understand a little bit about sunscreen safety. Doing so will dramatically reduce your odds of developing skin cancer, and will keep you looking youthful for longer.

The first step of sunscreen safety is to understand the chemical makeup of your sunscreen. There are a lot of people that say sunscreen does more harm than good, and that’s simply not true. It’s been proven that sunscreen reduces your odds of developing skin cancer over time. Why? Because sunscreen is your only line of defense to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays other than staying out of the sun completely or wearing clothing.

Sunscreen protects you from harmful rays and therefore minimizes your chances of melanoma and other skin cancers. Using sunscreen is all around safer than opting to go without it. If you want to avoid unnatural chemicals, find a good organic sunscreen and apply it liberally.

Find a Good Product

Sunscreen is crucial, but not all products are created equal. In order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your sunscreen, you need to find a good product. With conflicting information floating around the Internet, this can be confusing. Instead of spending hours trying to find the perfect sunscreen, make sure that your brand of choice includes the following important characteristics:

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

We all know someone who refuses to use anything more than SPF 8 and someone else that lathers on SPF 75. But what exactly does that SPF rating mean? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is an indicator for how long you can stay in the sun before the sunscreen wears off. If you opt for SPF 75, you’ll be protected 75 times longer than if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all. An SPF 8 offers only 8 times the protection—which isn’t necessarily sufficient. We recommend using something with an SPF of 50 or higher and reapplying as necessary.

Water Resistance

If it’s hot outside, you’re probably going to sweat. If you’re heading to the beach or a pool, you’re going to swim. Water resistance in sunscreen is a characteristic you should never skip. However, water resistance does not equal waterproof, so you will still need to reapply throughout the day.

Broad Spectrum Protection

Broad spectrum protection offers protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays—both of which can contribute to skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation

Products that have been reviewed and approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation will bear their seal on the front of the packaging. Look for this seal to ensure you’re getting the best sunscreen possible.

Active Ingredients

There are a few main active ingredients that you want to make sure are in your sunscreen. Zinc oxide, titanium oxide, or avobenzone are important for protection from UV rays and have the lowest risk of toxicity, hormonal disruption or skin allergy. Make sure to check and cross-reference your current sunscreen against the ingredients in the above link.

Don’t Skip Broad Spectrum Protection

While the above ingredients and seals of approval are a great way to find a good product, sometimes you might have to settle for something not so inclusive. If that happens, the one thing that you should make sure of is that your sunscreen at least offers broad spectrum protection. Broad spectrum protection is an essential part of what keeps you safe. With protection from both UVA and UVB rays, you’ll receive more coverage, eliminate unnecessary skin aging, and reduce your chances of developing skin cancer.

Apply Thoroughly

For sunscreen to work, you’ll need to apply it thoroughly to any part of your skin that will be exposed to the sun. More is always better with sunscreen, so be generous. Sunscreen is safe to apply around your eyes, which is important because our skin is much thinner there. Just make sure to avoid getting it inside of your eye and opt for a more sensitive sunscreen on your face. If you happen to get sunscreen in your eye, simply flush it out with fresh (not salt or pool) water.

Toss Expired Sunscreen

Contrary to what you might think, sunscreen does expire. Once it’s past its expiration date, sunscreen will gradually lose its effectiveness and therefore, not sufficiently protect you from UVA and UVB rays. Typically, sunscreen lasts for three years, but if you have an expiration date that’s different, adhere to that.

The main thing you need to remember is that in order for sunscreen to work, you need to use it regularly. If you have any questions about sun safety or sunscreen usage, feel free to contact the professionals at Atlas Health Medical Group. We’d be more than happy to help make sure that you’re prepared and ready to tackle the intense Arizona sun. If you have any concerns or are interested in getting a skin cancer screening, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our doctors today.

While prevention is the best way to protect yourself from skin cancer, early detection saves lives. Our team is comprised of naturopathic medical doctors that specialize in innovative treatments and hold themselves to the highest standards of individualized care possible. We’re currently offering comprehensive primary care membership packages for patients who want more control with lower costs. Atlas Health Medical Group is dedicated to our patients and wants to help make sure that you stay covered this season. Call us today at (480) 648-1534 or visit our website to learn more.

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1447 W Elliot Rd Suite 103
Gilbert, AZ 85233


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