Fun in the sun is great and all, but you do need to protect your skin from those harsh rays! Because we all want to prevent skin cancer and premature aging, we're big fans of SPF, and believe you can have fun outside if you take certain precautions. Ever eager to up our sun protection, we asked cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank for his words of wisdom. Here's what he had to say.
The Fashion Spot: Finding the perfect sunscreen and the right level of protection can be confusing! What number SPF would you most suggest?
Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank: I suggest a broad spectrum SPF 30 and it should be reapplied every 1-2 hours. SPF 30 is a good range and should be the minimum, especially at the beach… The key ingredient to look for in sunscreen is a physical block such as Titanium Oxide, or Zinc oxide which blocks and deflects the sun's rays opposed to chemical blocks containing Octinoxate, for example, which absorb rays. A physical block is always best, but many find that they are not cosmetically 'elegant' as they can be thicker or not sheer. La Roche Posay Anthelios line contains a physical sunscreen and is cosmetically elegant. For this reason, they tend to be more expensive.
Physical blocks are rarely found in makeup and daily cosmeceuticals as they can affect the texture of products. Therefore, if you are sun sensitive, it is best to check ingredients and use a physical block prior to applying makeup even if it contains sunscreen already. I recommend using sunscreen all year round, 365 days a year.
tFS: Sun protection shouldn't stop at SPF. What are some other ways we can shield our skin from those harsh rays?
PJF: In addition to using sunscreen, you should also wear sun-safe clothing. Consider purchasing a large sun hat, a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses or even light-colored pants and a shirt to protect your whole body from those harmful UV rays.
tFS: We all inevitably are going to get a sunburn at some point. Any tips for recovering your skin afterwards so you can minimize the damage?
PJF: The most important thing is to wear sunscreen to prevent further damage, [but] you can take an aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation caused by sunburn.
tFS: What's the most common misconception about the sun and skin that you encounter?
PJF: That the sun will help acne. Initially, the sun may make the skin clear, but it can actually make acne worse in reaction to the sun.
tFS: How often do you suggest getting a skin checkup from a dermatologist?
PJF: You should always go to a dermatologist if you see anything new or suspicious come up on your body. As for regular appointments, you should see your dermatologist at least once a year. I always tell my patients, "On your birthday, take a look at your birthday suit."