Have you been using your healthy skin care treatments this season? Once the summer fades into autumn, many of our patients come in for their regular full body examination -- and we find them perfectly tan. Even if you wear your sunscreen religiously throughout the season, your skin may still exhibit sun damage. Why doesn't the sunscreen work?

Sunscreen isn't the final solution for sun protection. Although it has multiple protective benefits, it includes several limiting factors that we want our patients to understand so they can be aware at the start of next summer.

1. Spending Time in the Sun

First, overexposure to the sun affects everybody, but ever since skin cancer statistics began to rise, we've seen an increasing number of cancer patients in their mid-twenties. This age group enjoys tanning beds, which can be extremely risky, and vacationing in sunny locations (don't we all). If you want to seriously protect your skin, be aware of the activities in which you indulge on a regular basis.

2. Be Proactive with Sunscreen

Traditional, chemical-based sunscreen needs to sit on your skin for 10-20 minutes before it will start working. We typically put it on immediately before going out into the sun. So for the first 10-20 minutes, we may think we're protected but we're actually at risk of sun damage. Make sure you lather up before you head out into the sun.

3. Choose the Right Sunscreen

The sun radiates three different types of rays:

  • UVB rays, which cause sunburn
  • UVA rays, which cause tanning
  • Infrared rays, which warm up your skin by heating deep tissue

Traditional sunscreen includes a chemical block that guards your skin against superficial rays (UVB rays) so you don't get sunburnt, but don't protect you from either UVA rays or Infrared rays. Zinc and titanium sunscreens offer better protection and health since they include protection from all three rays. We recommend SkinMedica® Total Defense & Repair Sunscreen to offer thorough protection from the sun.

4. Always Use Common Sense

Sunscreen doesn't make us invincible to the sun. We should always exercise common sense in conjunction with our healthy skin care treatments. When you go out into the sun, pretend you don't have any sun protection on at all. Also, consider:

  • your genetics
  • the time of day
  • the time of year
  • your elevation
  • what you're wearing

We're a huge fan of protective clothing, which every sporting goods store offers. They whisk away moisture like sweat from running or water from swimming, and they guard your skin. The Arthur family always wears protective clothing over our swimsuits. Always use protective clothing in addition to zinc- and titanium-based sunscreen.

We want all our patients -- well, everyone, really -- to understand the limitations of sunscreen so they can keep their skin 100% protected from the damaging rays of the sun. Hopefully we've helped you understand why you should use zinc- and titanium-based sunscreen, but even more than that, why you should use your common sense. Maybe together we can decrease the skin cancer statistics.