Sunscreen Myths | Insight from Your Southlake, TX Dermatologist

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Over 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year in the U.S. One of the best protection against skin cancer is by covering up in the sun and regularly applying sunscreen. Unfortunately, there are dozens of sunscreens to choose from and everyone has a different idea about what’s good for your skin. Skip looking for answers in magazines and contact your dermatologist.

You Don’t Need Sunscreen on Cloudy Days

False. Whether the sun is visible or hiding behind clouds, the ultraviolet A and B rays (UVA and UVB) still penetrate the clouds and your skin. Yes, the clouds reduce some, but only about 25% and if you go outside without protection, 75% is still infiltrating your skin. The best answer, according to Southlake, TX, dermatologists is to never skip or skimp on the sunscreen when heading outside.

Additionally, make sure to add protective clothing, including sunglasses to protect your eyes and a hat to protect your scalp. Sun can penetrate your skin, which is why you’ve probably felt a little sore after a day in the sun without that hat. If you’re concerned about sun damage to your scalp, make an appointment with your local dermatologist.

Having a Tan Protects Your Skin Enough

False again. In fact, this one is scary because that tan is your body’s response to UVA and UVB exposure. The sun has already damaged your skin and by heading outside again without sunscreen, it’s going to increase the damage and your risk of developing skin cancer. Additionally, some people believe that heading to a tanning booth for a baseline tan can add another layer of protection. Instead of helping your skin, taking these steps can cause additional harm. If you have questions about tanning booths and their safety, speak with a dermatologist about the damage these devices can do to your skin.

Naturally Dark Skin Protects Your Skin from the Sun

The pigment of your skin doesn’t protect you from cancer. Whether you have a light or dark complexion, the only way to prevent skin damage and cancer is to cover it up, both with a quality sunscreen and with clothing.

You Don’t Need to Put Sunscreen Everywhere 

Many people believe that you can’t get skin cancer in areas that aren’t exposed to the sun. However, this is another false statement. If you notice an area of your body with an unusual rash, even if it’s somewhere you’d never think about spreading a layer of sunscreen, such as your armpits or the soles of your feet, contact your Southlake, TXdermatologist for the next available appointment. The most successful path to stopping cancer is a prompt diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible.

Swimming or Water Protects You from the Sun

Actually, the opposite is true. UVB rays penetrate water, which means even if you’re up to your neck in a pool, lake, or the ocean, you’re still being exposed. Plus, water reflects sunlight, increasing your exposure to UV rays. Always apply sunscreen before and after getting out of the water, even if the brand is water-resistant. For questions about water-resistant sunscreens and how effective they are, speak with your Southlake, TXdermatologist.

You Can’t Tan with Sunscreen

Even if you apply sunscreen regularly throughout the day, the sun will still penetrate your skin and leave a tan. But, consider applying a fake, spray tan instead. It looks great, isn’t painful, is safe, and best of all, a spray tan won’t increase your chances of skin cancer (as long as you continue to wear a sunscreen with a high SPF.)

If you’re concerned about the safety of spray tanning products, make an appointment to speak with a Southlake, TXdermatologist. He or she can recommend products that are safe and help you find the right sunscreen and other skincare products to protect and care for your skin. For the best results, look for a sunscreen that includes all of these ingredients for full-spectrum protection.

All Sunscreens Are the Same

Just like the prices vary, the ingredients, effectiveness, and safety of the products are different. Always check the active ingredients before purchasing or applying sunscreen. For example, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and ecamsule filter out UVA and UVB rays while avobenzone blocks the sun. Additionally, these come in different SPFs, varying from 15 to over 50. For best results, always use the highest SPF.

You Don’t Need to Reapply Sunscreen

This is a big mistake people make that causes sunburns and can lead to skin cancer. Always reapply sunscreen every two to four hours and more often if you’re in the water or competing in sports or other activities that increase sweat and reduce the effectiveness of the sunscreen. No matter how high the SPF is, there are no sunscreens that last all day long. Also, always check the expiration date on your products. If it’s past the date, toss it and buy a new bottle. For questions about the safety of sun care and sunscreens, contact your dermatologist for a consultation.

If You Always Wear Sunscreen, You’ll Never Get Skin Cancer

Covering up and wearing sunscreen is the best way to prevent skin cancer. However, nothing is 100% full proof. However, you can reduce the chances of developing skin cancer by wearing sunglasses, loose protective clothing, and hats when you’re in the sun and staying out of the sun during peak hours. If you can avoid outdoor activities, even on cloudy days between 10 am and 1 pm, it’s possible to reduce exposure and your risk of skin cancer.

However, you also need to consider other factors, such as family history. If you are concerned about your chances of developing skin cancer, it’s important to speak to your primary care doctor and keep regular checkups with your dermatologist.

The best place to get help with sunscreen facts is at Compassion Dermatology, your Southlake, TX dermatologist. If you have any questions or concerns about skin care, schedule an appointment today.


Common Sunscreen Mistakes You Must Avoid | Tips from Your Keller, TX Dermatologist

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Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Every 1 in 5 Americans gets affected by it during their lifetime. Yet majority of cases of skin cancer could be easily prevented by protecting your skin from the harmful UV exposure. That’s why we can’t stress enough the importance of sun protection for your skin. Wearing a good quality sunscreen is actually one of the healthiest things you can do for your skin.

According to dermatologists in the Keller, TX area a good sunscreen with powerful UVA and UVB protection not only reduces the risk of skin cancer, it also protects your skin from getting burned, minimizes the development of wrinkles and reduces signs of premature aging.

Most dermatologists recommend using a mineral-based sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and water-resistant formula. These sunscreens usually contain zinc and titanium and are often known as physical sunscreens. This is because they form a physical shield over the skin to prevent the UV rays from reaching it. The other type of sunscreen is the chemical sunscreens that absorb the UV rays and convert them to heat in the body. They’re slightly irritating and less moisturizing.

Other than the type or brand of sunscreen that you choose, there are other factors too that determine the overall effectiveness of the sun protection. Dermatologists emphasize that correctly applying the sunscreen is also crucial for your skin health.

Here we’re going to go through some of the most common sunscreen fails and how you can steer clear of them. So, let’s begin.

1.  You’re Not Applying Enough

There’s no such thing as too much sunscreen. If you really want to make the most of the high SPF of your product, a little dab won’t do. If you’re not going to wear enough of the sunscreen, its protective factor would be compromised. This means that an SPF 50 sunscreen won’t give you SPF 50 protection.

Dermatologists recommend that for adults, 1 ounce (one shot glass) is the right amount of sunscreen to apply all over the body, whenever you plan to wear your bathing suit. For face and front of the neck a nickel sized dollop is enough.

It can vary slightly based on the surface area of your body. Just make sure you’ve got enough cover all the exposed areas. If you’re getting a tan even after wearing sunscreen, it shows that you’re not applying the right amount.

2.  You Don’t Reapply

If you apply sunscreen every morning thinking you’ll be safe for the entire day, you’re wrong! Sunscreen cannot last that long.  Even water proof formulas and high SPFs do not guarantee a 24-hour protection. Therefore, theyask their patients to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours to keep it effective. This is because the active ingredients in the sunscreen (whether chemical or physical) keep getting consumed while blocking the UV rays.

Furthermore, sweating, swimming, washing, wiping also cause the sunscreen to was off. Thus, reapplication is required every time it wears off.

3.  You Only Wear It on Sunny Days

A lot of people wrongly assume that sun protection means keeping away from the sunlight. While this belief is not completely wrong, the truth is that your main concern is the UV rays that are actually invisible to the human eye.

Dermatologists point out that about 80% of the UV rays are present even on the cloudiest of days as clouds cannot block UV rays, especially the UVA rays. UVA rays can easily pass through clouds, haze or fog and penetrate deep in to your skin. They are the main culprit in causing premature skin aging and possibly skin cancer.

4.  You Miss the Important Spots

Just applying sun block on your face, neck, arms, legs and back isn’t enough. It’s important to apply sunscreen to every area that will be exposed to the sun. A lot of people often miss the eye lids, eyebrows, area around the hairline, ears, lips, back of the neck, etc. Dermatologists report that basal or squamous cell cancers (slow growth cancer in the outer layers of skin) most commonly affect these areas as they’re left unprotected and are frequently exposed to the sun.

Lips are especially vulnerable to sun damage as they have very little melanin in them (the natural pigment that gives some sun protection). Therefore, you should look for products like lip balms and lipsticks that come with SPF and apply it every 2 hours.

5.  You Think Wearing Makeup That Comes with SPF Is Enough for You

Although it’s great to use more makeup and skincare products that come with some SPF such as moisturizers, primers, bb creams, foundations, lip colors and powders, you should never rely on them solely. Maybe if you’re going out for a few minutes, they’re going to work fine. But for longer durations especially if you work outdoors or have a beach party to attend, you need more sun protection that these products cannot offer.

This is because they usually don’t come with higher SPFs and even if they do, you don’t slather them on to your skin the way you put on your sunscreen. That’s why dermatologists in the Keller, TX area advise to use a sunscreen in addition to other products that provide sun protection. Also, you should always put your sunscreen first, let it sink in and then apply makeup.

6.  You Think You Don’t Need a Sunscreen because You’re Darker

It’s true that darker complexions are less prone to sun damage but your skin color alone is not enough to protect you from the risk of developing melanomas or other skin cancers. This is especially important for people who are frequently exposed to the sun.

According to dermatologists in the Keller, TX area, the recommendation of regularly using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapplying it every 2 hours is for everyone regardless of the skin tone.

Sunscreen is the most important factor in providing maximum sun protection to your skin and preventing the development of a number of skin problems, especially skin cancers.

If you’re facing any skin issues and want to consult the best dermatologists in the Keller, TX area, get in touch with Compassion Dermatology today. We have a highly skilled team of dermatology professionals who are up to date with all skincare procedures and services.