In Miami, the land of the "Beautiful People" - where sun and sand mean that skin is always exposed, Dr. Andrea Trowers, Board Certified Dermatologist based in North Miami Beach, helps enhance all of her client's beauty.
Dr. Trowers exclusively addressesmany of your biggest skin care questions in our ongoing series of columns.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. This number is a measurement of the degree of UVB protection, but it does not indicate how long you can safely stay in the sun. The idea that the higher the SPF number the longer that it will take you to burn is an old wife’s tale.
Basically once you hit a SPF of 30 there is a minimal difference between it and higher numbers. However there is a huge difference between 15 SPF and 30 SPF. I tell all of my patients that an SPF of 15 may prevent you from developing a sunburn, but you need an SPF of 30 to minimize all of the photo aging and long term negative effects of the sun.
The components of your sunscreen are also very important. Physical blockers are my preferred ingredient because they block burning and tanning rays. The ingredients I tell my patients are mandatory are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Prior to current advances in sunscreen these ingredients meant the sunscreens would be thick, white and greasy. However due to cosmetic advances sunscreens including these ingredients now come in oil free, residue free and fragrance free formulations. There are non-greasy brands and even a powder option.
Chemical sunscreens such as avobenzone, do not block tanning rays as well in my experience.
Remember sunscreen is not just for trips to the pool or beach. The majority of damaging sun rays are received while patients are beside a window at their office or in the car. Thus daily sunscreen application (remember it only lasts two hours) and sun avoidance behaviors are encouraged!
- Dr. Andrea Trowers
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Office contact info: 10800 Biscayne Boulevard Suite #650 Miami, FL 33161