Jun 20, 2023 Safe Sunscreen: A Do’s and Don’ts Guide to Protecting Your Skin

Sunscreen is a must, not just in the summer, but all-year round. It is recommended to wear a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, applied not only to just our faces but our entire bodies – and don’t forget those heads! It’s also important to choose a sunscreen that is effective, but also has safe ingredients.

Franz Smith, MD, MAcM, FACS, Northern Lead for the Melanoma and Soft Tissue Oncology Program and Medical Director of the Melanoma Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center shares, “Melanoma is the number one increasing cancer in men and the number two increasing cancer in women. One of the major risks factors for melanoma is ultraviolet radiation exposure. So, it’s important to practice proper sun protection. Knowing what is in our sunscreen is important, and making sure we are properly applying and reapplying is essential.”

Sunscreen Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do check the ingredients. Make sure your sunscreen has:
    • Zinc
    • Titanium dioxide
    • Avobenzone
    • Mexoryl FX
  • Don’t use sunscreen with a vitamin A additive or retinyl palmitate.
  • Do use sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Also make sure it is water-resistant.
  • Do apply liberally to your skin, 15 minutes prior to going outside. Reapply every two hours, and more frequently if you are sweating or going in the water.
  • Do apply enough to cover your entire face and body. Commonly missed spots include:
    • Ears
    • Nose
    • Lips
    • Back of neck
    • Hands
    • Tops of feet
    • Hairline
    • Scalp
  • Don’t keep your sunscreen directly in the sun or in warm areas.
  • Do use other forms of protection in addition to sunscreen including protective shirts, hats, etc.
  • Do apply sunscreen every day, all-yearlong!
    Stay safe!