Questions on Sun Protection Answered

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Do you have questions about sun protection tips but aren’t sure who to ask? Yes, I did too! I had the opportunity to ask Dr. Paul Cohen some questions – no matter how silly they sounded – to put my put my mind at ease. I want to make sure I’m making the best decisions regarding sun safety for my family.

Sunscreen Tips - Sun Protection Tips

Sun Protection Tips – Ask An Expert:

Question 1: Is sunscreen required for early morning and early evening?

Answer 1: You may be surprised to learn that the UV index in the early morning, and even in the evening, is still quite high, and the sun is still strong. The reason the sun is harmful is that there are UVA and UVB rays, all day, all year, from sun-up to sun-down, in January or in July — you’re getting the same hit of UV rays. I think it’s very important to develop a habit of waking up and washing your face and / or showering and then applying sunscreen. It’s the easiest way to remember to protect yourself. Before heading outside in the evening, I would also encourage you to heed caution and apply a fresh coat. Don’t slack off on your sun protection just because the sun feels less intense; it is still damaging.

Question 2: Does light clothing (with long sleeves and pants) help protect against the sun? I see some children’s swimwear with the words “UV Protection” on them so I’m wondering if the sun’s rays can still damage skin through light fabric material.

Answer 2: Certain clothing and fabrics do help protect against the sun. Today more than ever there are more fabric options and innovative designs available. Most often, sun-protective clothing is usually pretreated, so that the fibers have anti-sun properties, and they do offer great sun protection. For regular knits and clothing, it really depends on the fabric, but they do help. For example, a white tight knit shirt probably provides an SPF 7. Now, if this gets wet (even from sweat), then the SPF value lessens. When looking at a fabric for protection, always take into account the fabric and weave – the tighter it is, the better its protection your skin.

Question 3: Are people who have a family history of skin cancer at a greater risk?

Answer 3: Having a family history of skin cancer is definitely one of the factors that increases your risk of getting skin cancer. If you have a family history of skin cancer, or any of the other risk factors like blue or green eyes, blond or red hair, if you have certain types and a large number of moles — you should visit the dermatologist for a skin check once a year.

Question 4: How do you determine what level of protection (30, 60, etc.) is right for you and your children?

Answer 4: There are a few things that I would recommend looking for – first, always look for broad-spectrum protection. This will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Look for products that are oil-free, especially if you are acne-prone. For the summer months, I always say you need a product with at least an of SPF 30 or higher. For children, whose skin is more sensitive, I say at least 30 and because they are more active, tend to err on the side of caution with a SPF 60. If you’re swimming or sweating, always look for a water-resistant sunscreen; it’ll make sure you are protected for up to 80 minutes. Another important thing is to look for a sunscreen that works for your skin needs, if you know you are sensitive then I would recommend perhaps trying a physical sunscreen with titanium dioxide, that is gentler and reflects UV rays instead of absorbing them.

Personally, I love to use NEUTROGENA® Wet Skin® Sunscreen Spray for when I take my kids to the beach. I can spray it on them when their skin is still wet, so it makes reapplying less of a hassle and maximizes the kids’ time to have fun and still be fully protected. If your skin tends to be dry, AVEENO® Protect + Hydrate has oatmeal to help hydrate while it protects.

Question 5: What are some of the signs of skin damage that people should be looking for?

Answer 5: Some of the signs of skin damage are: broken blood vessels, small freckles on skin (especially seen on your arms and shoulders), uneven skin pigmentation and dull, not radiant skin. For skin cancer, always be aware of the ABCDE – Asymmetry, Borders, Colors, Diameter, Evolving; if any moles change, or you have sores that don’t heal, you should seek medical attention.

Question 6: Are there ways of reversing skin damage that is already done?

Answer 6: There are many products available that can help. Normally, I recommend products that contain Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that prevents and helps treat existing sun spots, while helping to avoid free radical damage. Retinol is another one of the ingredients that is easily accessible that can help as it helps with quicker skin cell turnover and addresses premature aging. One product that actually combines both is Neutrogena’s Rapid Tone Repair Moisturizer SPF 30 that is clinically proven to help brighten skin to reduce the look of dark spots and discoloration with a powerful combination of Vitamin C and retinol.

Do you have any questions on sun protection tips you’d like answered? Let us know in the comments below!

*Disclosure: I am part of the Aveeno Active Naturals Ambassador program; however, all opinions expressed here are my own.

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