Don’t Trust Your Skin to Just Any Sunscreen: Medical Grade Products Offer Superior Protection

Don’t Trust Your Skin to Just Any Sunscreen: Medical Grade Products Offer Superior Protection

No matter your skin tone or the weather, applying sunscreen should be part of your daily regimen. That’s even more crucial during summer when the sun shines bright, the outdoors beckon, and our clothing reveals more skin.

Sunscreen or sunblock helps prevent sunburn, skin cancer, and signs of premature aging. While it’s essential to use sun protection daily, it’s key that you also select an effective product and apply it correctly. 

Understanding UVA and UVB rays

Both UVA and UVB are ultraviolet rays that can harm your skin. UVB rays don't penetrate as deeply as UVA rays. Still, they can cause sunburn and are more likely to cause skin cancer. UVA rays also contribute to the formation of skin cancer, but since they penetrate the deeper layers of your skin, they also contribute to signs of premature aging and wrinkling. UVA rays comprise 95% of the UV rays that reach the earth's surface.

Understanding SPF ratings

SPF is a number that measures the time it would take you to sunburn if you weren’t wearing sunscreen versus the time it would take with sunscreen on. These numbers, however, are confusing. For example, an SPF of 30 is only a few percentage points more effective — not double — than a 15 SPF rating. Ratings over SPF ratings over 50 aren't meaningful. Keep it simple and pick a product with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Go broad 

Always choose a "broad-spectrum" sunscreen, which protects from UVB and UVA rays. Not all sunscreens meet the FDA's broad-spectrum guidelines, so make sure to check for those words on the label.

Sunscreen vs. sunblock

Here’s how each works.

Sunscreen

 Sunscreen is a chemical formula that is absorbed by the skin and converts the sun's UV rays into heat, which is then released from the skin. Chemical sunscreen must be applied at least 15 minutes before sun exposure for ample time to sink in.

Sunblock

Also called physical or mineral sunscreen, sunblock is made from the natural-occurring minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Sunblock sits on the skin’s surface and physically prevents UV rays from penetrating the skin. It provides a physical defense and starts working as soon as you put it on.

How to apply and reapply

Use about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to cover your body entirely. Those with fair skin typically absorb more solar energy than dark-skinned people under the same conditions. 

Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into all exposed skin, and don’t forget your: 

Reapply sunscreen or sunblock at least every two hours, regardless of its SPF rating.

"Water-resistant" means the sunscreen is formulated to perform well despite water or sweat. But they won’t last indefinitely, especially when you’re swimming, sweating, and toweling off. 

The benefits of medical grade sunscreen vs. over-the-counter products

Like all medical-grade skincare products, medical-grade sunscreens are backed by clinical research, made from proven ingredients, and are only available through physicians. As a result, they offer multiple benefits. These include:

Some of our favorites

Advanced Aesthetics Lopez Plastic Surgery offers a full menu of medical-grade sunscreens. Stop by any of our Texas locations or shop online. 

Some of our favorites are:

To learn more about protecting your skin this summer and for all of your aesthetic needs, book an appointment at Advanced Aesthetics Lopez Plastic Surgery. We have offices in Stone Oak, Boerne, Alamo Heights, New Braunfels, and San Antonio, TX. 

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