Since there are many misconceptions about sunscreen application and protecting your skin in the summer heat, let Curcio Dermatology help give you our top 3 tips for sun protection this summer!
At this point in the season, both Nashville locals and tourists have experienced how hot Nashville summers can get. With the summer season in full heat, it is officially time that you religiously apply your sunscreen every single day–if you haven’t been doing so already. From sunburn, aging, and skin cancer, sunscreen can help protect your skin and your body from some of the strongest UV rays. Regardless if you have fairer or darker skin pigment or if you are older or younger, skin cancer and sun damage can happen to anybody. The only way to prevent either from happening is by practicing and implementing protective habits.
Recently, our team at Curcio Dermatology has come across an excellent New York Times Wirecutter article about incorrect sunscreen application and teaches how to do it correctly according to experts. Throughout the article, writer, Rose Maura Lorre, addresses some of the misconceptions surrounding SPF, sunscreen brand recommendations, and application tips. Even if you think you have good sun-protective habits, this article may surprise you with how you could be causing more damage. Let’s take a look at our summary of some of the article’s key points that we also encourage and teach in our dermatology office! Here are our top 3 tips for protecting your skin this summer:
Tip #1: Choose Your Sunscreen (and SPF) Wisely.
While encouraging sunscreen use may seem redundant, recent surveys have revealed that 67% of surveyed people incorrectly believe that SPF 30 sunscreen offers twice as much protection as SPF 15 sunscreen (AAD). This common misconception can lead people to believe that they are protected from the sun for longer periods of time with a higher SPF. In the New York Times Wirecutter article, they refer to this idea as the Sunscreen Paradox Factor. This false sense of security only causes more skin damage. Instead, you should opt to choose an SPF above 30, use the recommended 1-ounce rule for your face and body, and let it dry down 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure.
Tip #2: Reapply Thoroughly and Regularly.
Sunscreen is only as effective as how you apply it. If you apply SPF 50 once and think you are safe, then think again. You would be better off reapplying a lower SPF more frequently (NY Times). While it is recommended to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, we recommend reapplying after the 1-hour mark, especially if you have been swimming or sweating. If you have trouble applying sunscreen to children or individuals with sensory sensitivities, here’s a great tip mentioned in the New York Times article: try using a foundation makeup brush to gently spread the sunscreen on your face. If that doesn’t work for you, you can also buy face stick sunscreen that makes for easy and clean application.
Tip #3: Cover-Up.
Aside from sunscreen, you should be implementing other sun-protective measures. One of the easiest ways to prevent sun damage is by staying in the shade. But we understand that shade isn’t always guaranteed. A proactive option is to wear hats, UPF shirts, sunglasses, or water shoes (NY Times). This will provide you with an extra layer of protection during some of Nashville’s hottest days. Since people tend to get a lot of sun exposure at its peak hour, the parts of the body that are most vulnerable to burn are the neck, shoulders, chest, nose, top of knees, feet, scalp, and ears. Even though this may seem like the majority of the body, these body parts get the most direct exposure when the sun is above you. Make sure that you protect your body during the hottest time of the year by covering up areas that are more susceptible to sunburn.
For more information and details on how you can protect your skin, check out the New York Times Wirecutter article at the link here.
Curcio Dermatology | Serving Patients in Nashville and Beyond
While we get many patients in our office for a variety of skin conditions, our team at Curcio Dermatology gets an overwhelming number of patients in for sun-damage-related conditions. Whether you are looking for a medical procedure or a cosmetic skin treatment, Curcio Dermatology can provide you with what you need. Our goal is to fulfill your medical and cosmetic dermatology needs so you can feel like your most healthy and beautiful self. Our skilled team can set you up with an appointment to assess your skin concerns. In addition to cosmetic dermatology, we also provide surgeries for skin cancer, benign lesions as well as Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Contact us with questions or to set up an appointment via our online form or by calling (615) 679-9011.