Living in Arizona, we get more than our fair share of sunshine, and with those rays comes serious risk. Being one of the top 11 states with the highest risk of skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, Arizona has already surpassed 2,000 cases of melanoma this year. While getting a sun-kissed glow is at the top of many summer bucket lists, suffering from irreversible and potentially life-threatening sun damage shouldn’t be. In Arizona, with our plethora of sunny days, it can feel like there is no escape from harmful rays. Never fear! We can find our best defense from damaging sunshine in a most humble superhero: sunscreen. Below are some tips to keep your skin safe all year long:
How much to use
Sunscreen does more than protect you from skin cancer. According to a study by Binghamton University, sunscreen also keeps the integrity of your skin by providing a barrier from the environment and can prevent bacteria and infections from entering your body. Always feel free to apply generously. At the very minimum, you should aim to use teaspoon of sunblock per each limb with an SPF of 30 or higher.
How often to apply
No matter how much sunscreen you initially apply, it is equally important to stay consistent in reapplying, especially if you will be outside for a prolonged amount of time. Those damaging rays from the sun make you perspire, which can whisk away even the most well-intentioned sunscreen application over the course of a few hours. If you know you will be in direct sunlight for at least two hours, it might be in your best interest to set a timer to reapply. Even if there is cloud cover or you are seeking shade as often as you can, it is still imperative to reapply.
Not all chemicals found in sunscreen are beneficial. America has extremely lenient laws when it comes to products being approved as sunscreen, which can then put your skin at a higher risk for both a burn and serious toxic reactions. When browsing the shelves, look for skin protection with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and avoid products with hormones such as oxybenzone. It is also recommended that you avoid spray sunscreens and brands with Vitamin A as it can increase your risk for skin cancer.
If you have sensitive skin and find yourself avoiding sunscreens with irritant-prone potential, try switching your sunblock to a safe mineral formula. Such products will be gentle to your skin but strong in protecting you from harmful rays. If you are wary of sunscreens, ask your skincare specialist about product recommendations to fit your needs and your lifestyle. There are many different options.
In general, one of the biggest personal health goals in Arizona should be proper sun protection. Our sunshine is no joke, and while it is wonderful to enjoy so many sunny days, it is crucial to care for our skin and overall health responsibly. Alongside staying hydrated and eating your vegetables, applying sunscreen should be a daily priority.
Written by: Dr. Maggie Husami, Medical Director at Derma Health Skin & Laser.
Dr. Maggie Husami is the Medical Director at Derma Health Skin & Laser.. Derma Health has served more than 50,000 patients at four locations in the Phoenix metropolitan area. It is ranked as a top 1% med-spa in the nation and is the No. 1 provider of dermal fillers and Botox in the Southwest. Derma Health recognizes your needs are unique, so we offer all patients free consultations to assess the treatment options available. Learn more at dhiskin.com.