Summer Tips for Sun Worshipers | From Miami Cosmetic Dermatologist

(Consejos para los adoradores del sol en el verano)

A few tips about Sunscreen

Effective damage-prevention – especially in Miami and South Florida – requires a focus on the harsh effects of prolonged exposure to the sun.  Knowing they must protect their skin from damaging UV rays, my Miami cosmetic dermatology patients routinely ask me questions about sun screen – what works best, how much is enough – key questions such as those.

 Mostly, they are looking for effective ways to avoid the unpleasant side effects of applying sunscreen – they know it’s essential to protect them, but they also know that there are limitations to its effectiveness.

The most prevalent issue is sweating.  The good news is that sunscreen products have come a long way over the past few years, so avoiding the “sweating” pitfalls is often as simple as choosing the right product.  Other questions include eye protection, spray applications, SPF levels and more – here are a representative example of questions and answers about sunscreen:

  • To prevent eye irritation, apply a “stick” sunscreen above the brows.  This will keep the forehead sweat from getting in your eyes, and carrying sunscreen with the sweat.
  • Sprays that dry quickly and provide a lighter application of product leave the skin feeling less greasy, especially when you sweat.  They also don’t leave the white film on your skin that is more prevalent with lotions and creams.  While they are not generally as effective as lotions or creams, when used properly they offer sufficient protection while being less intrusive.
  • People often operate under the misconception that once you have applied sunscreen, you are good to go for the whole day.  Not so.  It is important to reapply sunscreen periodically throughout your exposure to the sun.  Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Most sunscreens are not waterproof.  However, even if you apply waterproof sunscreen, you need to reapply it after you come out of the water; this will help to ensure that you remain protected.
  • Applying a lesser strength SPF, such as a 15, will provide some protection while still allowing you to tan.  However, exposure to UV rays will also enhance the appearance of scars, dark spots and freckles, as well as increasing the chances for new dark spots and freckles to form in response to the damage caused by UV rays.
  • Apply sunscreen to your ears.  This is one of the most forgotten areas – you can avoid painful sunburn by remembering to protect them.

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Alternative Sun Protection

  • Wear ultraviolet blocking sunglasses that will protect your eyelids as well as your eyes.
  • Wear protective clothing and hats.  There are many products out now that are specially designed to provide sunscreen protection.
  • However, don’t assume that wearing a hat will protect you.  When you’re at the beach, on the ocean or at the pool or on a boat, as much as half of the ultraviolet exposure can happen by reflection from sand, concrete and other reflective surfaces.
  • Most people don't apply enough sunscreen.  Remember that the SPF rating assumes you apply ample amounts. SPF 15 is sufficient to prevent any sunburn – s which is attributable to UVB rays – but it will not protect you from damaging UVA rays which are responsible for premature aging with loss of elastic and collagen fibers as well as brown spots and skin cancer.
  • When possible, avoid exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., the four most intense sun-hours of the day.  Wear protective clothing and, if possible, sit under the umbrella during these hours.

You can enjoy the Florida sun and still protect your skin by taking some simple precautions.

Dr. Oscar Hevia is a renowned Miami cosmetic dermatologist. Call 305-670-3050 to schedule an appointment!

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