Sunscreen 101

Summer’s here and outdoor activities are on the rise! With more time spent in the sun, it is natural to want to protect your skin. Sunscreen is a great way to care for your skin, and with a few simple tips you will be well informed and ready to enjoy the outdoors!


The first thing to keep in mind is that no matter how much sunscreen you apply, you cannot eliminate your risk when exposed to the sun. So when possible, stay in the shade, use an umbrella or put on a full brimmed hat. Many people don’t realize how much time they spend in the sun—an afternoon at a baseball game or in the garden can give you as much sun as if you spent it at the beach—so if you are outside, look and plan for cover in addition to applying suncreen.


Sunscreen should be applied at least every two hours, as well as after swimming. Many people who don’t think that sunscreen works for them don’t realize how much and how often it should to be used. One ounce is a good amount to cover a person in a bathing suit, so spread it liberally. Put it on at regular intervals and re-apply every time you exit the water to get the best protection.


Most sunscreens primarily protect your skin against UVB Rays, which cause sunburns. In fact, the SPF number measures how well the product protects you from UVB Rays. However, you also need protection against UVA Rays, which are lower energy rays that cause more subtle skin damage. UVA Rays are absorbed deeper into the skin, which can stimulate skin aging and cause skin cancer. When you are picking out a sunscreen look for “broad spectrum” protection, this means it will protect you from UVA and UVB Rays.


Federal regulators have made sunscreens a lot safer for consumers in the past decade, but there are a couple harmful additives you should look out for. A form of Vitamin A, called retinyl palmitate, can be harmful for the skin. Researchers have found that when Vitamin A is eaten, it can be helpful for cancer prevention. However, when applied topically and exposed to sunlight, it can do the opposite and speed the growth of cancer. In addition to Vitamin A, you may also want to avoid Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a potential hormone disruptor and allergen. So if you have particularly sensitive skin, avoid sunscreens with this ingredient.

Minneapolis Vein Center recommends sunscreens with broad spectrum and carries the highest quality and safest sunscreen products for all types of skin and needs. Call today at 763-398-8710 for help picking out the best fit for you.

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