Tell me if you’ve ever been in a situation like this: You’re about to head outside to take the dog for a walk or to go for a run and as you are just about at the door, you think to yourself, “I should probably put on sunscreen.” You dig out an old bottle, rub a few dollops in quickly and out the door you go.

Or you’re taking the family to the beach. You spend 30 minutes getting everything together, then drive to the beach, find parking, pull the apartment-sized amount of stuff you brought with you out of the car/mini-van/SUV and schlep it over to the beach. Pull the towels out, sort of get setup, and then rush to get the sunblock on the kids before they bounce off into the surf. Finally, about an hour after you leave the house you’re able to put on your own sunscreen.

That’s all wrong. As we covered in our last article, the sun is constantly shooting out high-energy microscopic razor blades of light that are doing a number on your DNA. All this slap-chop action on your DNA over the years takes its toll. That toll manifests as wrinkles, blotchy skin, sun spots, and cancer.

Lets get serious about applying sunscreen.

1. There is no SPF with 100% protection. SPF 15 blocks out 93% of UVB rays.

Under the best of circumstances, you’re still subject to a small amount of unblocked UV radiation. You don’t want to tempt fate more than necessary by being really casual with when you use and how you apply sunscreen. There are clear benefits to using sunblock properly.

2. Use a broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen to protect against sun damage daily. You’ll reduce your risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and melanoma by 50%.

You read that right, you can cut your risk of cancer in half by correctly applying a SPF 15 regularly. This makes sunscreen an essential part of your daily healthcare regimen.

Now, let’s talk about how to apply sunscreen. If you’re like most people they use as little as possible to cover their body. Somebody at the beach may try to get by on as little as a quarter-size dollop for an afternoon of surf and sand.

That’s not how sunscreen works at all. For sunscreen to work properly you should use:

3. 1 oz. of sunscreen should be applied to your entire body. That’s enough to fill a shot glass. Reapply every 2 hours.

Have you ever used this much at once? It’s not likely. And part of the reason is because you’re probably not applying your sunscreen at the right time.

The time to apply sunscreen is before you leave the house. Why?

4. It takes sunscreen an average of 30 minutes to soak into skin and to work effectively.

If your first application of sunscreen is at the beach or at the pool you’re exposing yourself to sun without protection for the whole ride over there, getting to your spot and getting setup, and then for 30 minutes after you apply it. Compound that with the fact that you’re likely to under apply sunscreen at this point and that’s a recipe for sub-optimal protection.

For this reason it makes a lot of sense to double up or even triple up on your solar protection.

5. Protect yourself with more than sunscreen. Wide-brimmed hats, protective clothing, and sunglasses will all help to add coverage. Stay out of direct sunlight when possible.

Consider taking an umbrella with you to the beach. This helps with direct sun rays. But remember, light is reflective. It’s bouncing off the sand, the pavement, the water, and all other surfaces and getting to you like that too. And if you like to get in the water, you should know that…

6. Water-resistant sunscreen isn’t water-resistant forever. You need to reapply after only 80 minutes in the water.

You may need to apply sunscreen even sooner than 80 minutes. Be sure to read and follow the directions as supplied by the manufacturer.

If you have a baby, you should know that…

7. It only takes 10 minutes for a baby’s skin to burn. But sunscreen isn’t safe for babies under six months! Keep babies out of the sun!

If you are going to be outside for any length of time with a baby that’s less than six months old, keep the baby covered up and safe!

8. Early detection of skin cancer can save your life and catch a major problem while it’s still no big deal.

Getting a regular skin checkup can save your life. 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer in their lifetime. Think about all the times you’ve spent too much time in the sun. Think about all of the sunburns that you’ve had over the years. Now think about all of the golden tans you’ve gotten. Tanning is your body’s response to sun damage.

All of that sun exposure takes its toll. A once a year skin checkup will give you confidence about the health of your skin. In the event something is found, you’re able to catch it early while it’s still no big deal.

At Summit Plastic Surgery & Dermatology we specialize in skin care: from cosmetic dermatology procedures to Mohs skin cancer surgery, we are Wilmington, NC’s skincare experts.

Tell me if you’ve ever been in a situation like this: You’re about to head outside to take the dog for a walk or to go for a run and as you are just about at the door, you think to yourself, “I should probably put on sunscreen.” You dig out an old bottle, rub a few dollops in quickly and out the door you go.

Or you’re taking the family to the beach. You spend 30 minutes getting everything together, then drive to the beach, find parking, pull the apartment-sized amount of stuff you brought with you out of the car/mini-van/SUV and schlep it over to the beach. Pull the towels out, sort of get setup, and then rush to get the sunblock on the kids before they bounce off into the surf. Finally, about an hour after you leave the house you’re able to put on your own sunscreen.

That’s all wrong. As we covered in our last article, the sun is constantly shooting out high-energy microscopic razor blades of light that are doing a number on your DNA. All this slap-chop action on your DNA over the years takes its toll. That toll manifests as wrinkles, blotchy skin, sun spots, and cancer.

It is important to pay attention to how sunscreen is applied.

1. There is no SPF with 100% protection. SPF 15 blocks out 93% of UVB rays.

Under the best of circumstances, you’re still subject to a small amount of unblocked UV radiation. You don’t want to tempt fate more than necessary by being really casual with when you use and how you apply sunscreen. There are clear benefits to using sunblock properly.

2. Use a broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen to protect against sun damage. You’ll reduce your risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and melanoma by 50%.

You read that right, you can cut your risk of cancer in half by correctly applying a SPF 15 regularly. This makes sunscreen an essential part of your daily healthcare regimen.

Now, let’s talk about how to apply sunscreen. If you’re like most people they use as little as possible to cover their body. Somebody at the beach may try to get by on as little as a quarter-size dollop for an afternoon of surf and sand.

That’s not how sunscreen works at all. For sunscreen to work properly you should use:

3. 1 oz. of sunscreen should be applied to your entire body. That’s enough to fill a shot glass. Reapply every 2 hours.

Have you ever used this much at once? It’s not likely. And part of the reason is because you’re probably not applying your sunscreen at the right time.

The time to apply sunscreen is before you leave the house. Why?

4. It takes sunscreen an average of 30 minutes to soak into skin and to work effectively.

If your first application of sunscreen is at the beach or at the pool you’re exposing yourself to sun without protection for the whole ride over there, getting to your spot and getting setup, and then for 30 minutes after you apply it. Compound that with the fact that you’re likely to under apply sunscreen at this point and that’s a recipe for sub-optimal protection.

For this reason it makes a lot of sense to double up or even triple up on your solar protection.

5. Protect yourself with more than sunscreen. Wide-brimmed hats, protective clothing, and sunglasses will all help to add coverage. Vitamin C serum applied first will absorb damaging rays that penetrate your sunscreen on your face.

Consider taking an umbrella with you to the beach. This helps with direct sun rays. But remember, light is reflective. It’s bouncing off the sand, the pavement, the water, and all other surfaces and getting to you like that too. And if you like to get in the water, you should know that…

6. Water-resistant sunscreen isn’t water-resistant forever. You need to reapply after only 80 minutes in the water.

You may need to apply sunscreen even sooner than 80 minutes. Be sure to read and follow the directions as supplied by the manufacturer. Sunscreen its like a sponge and after time is looses its ability to capture the damaging rays.

If you have a baby, you should know that…

7. It only takes 10 minutes for a baby’s skin to burn. But sunscreen isn’t safe for babies under six months! Keep babies out of the sun!

If you are going to be outside for any length of time with a baby that’s less than six months old, keep the baby covered up and safe!

8. Early detection of skin cancer can save your life and catch a major problem while it’s still no big deal.

Getting a regular skin checkup can save your life. 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer in their lifetime. Think about all the times you’ve spent too much time in the sun. Remember the baby oil and iodine routine. Think about all of the sunburns that you’ve had over the years. Now think about all of the golden tans you’ve gotten. Tanning is your body’s response to sun damage.

All of that sun exposure takes its toll. A once a year skin checkup will give you confidence about the health of your skin. In the event something is found, you’re able to catch it early while it’s still no big deal. If you have had skin cancer already, we recommend a skin exam every 6 months.

At Summit Plastic Surgery & Dermatology we specialize in skin care: from esthetic dermatology procedures to Mohs skin cancer surgery, we are Wilmington, NC’s skincare experts.

Love the skin you're in! Schedule your skin checkup now!

Make sure you don’t have any spots, moles, or rough patches of skin that need attention before spring and summer gets here!