Brighten up your sunscreen routine

mother holding child and sunscreen bottle

Our skin, the body’s largest organ, has cells that turn cholesterol into vitamin D when exposed to UVB rays. Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is essential for bone formation, immune strength and preventing various diseases and disorders. Getting some sun is critical to good health.

However, our sun-soaked Lowcountry way of life can take a toll on our skin if we’re not careful. Here, Dr. Edward Kotz, a Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated dermatologist, schools us on sunscreen for maximum protection:  

Don’t skimp on sunscreen: Many people don’t use enough. “You need about an ounce, which is equivalent to a shot glass. And, your sunscreen bottle shouldn’t last all summer. If it does, you’re not using enough,” advises Dr. Kotz.  

He also noted that skin cancers are often found on the ears, sides of the neck and backs of hands, so make sure to apply sunscreen to those areas.  

Look for broad-spectrum protection: This means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause sunburns, while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and cause premature aging and skin cancer.  

Choose a high SPF and water-resistant sunscreen: “I recommend using at least SPF 30 daily. But, if you know you’ll be in the sun all day, opt for no less than SPF 50,” says Dr. Kotz. Remember to reapply every two hours and when in doubt, reapply.  

Seek shade and wear protective clothing: Sunscreen is just one part of sun protection. Find some shade, especially between 12-2 p.m., and consider wearing protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats. “UPF clothing is almost foolproof,” says Dr. Kotz.“You won’t miss a spot, especially with kids. Rash guards are great for when they are in and out of the water all day.”  

Know your skin: “Pay attention to any changes or new spots,” says Dr. Kotz. “If you notice anything unusual on your skin, like a changing color, size or texture, make an appointment to see a dermatologist. 

Or, if you simply want to enhance your skin’s overall health, partner with a dermatologist to gain a trusted ally who will support you in achieving and maintaining healthy, radiant skin for years to come.

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