I grew up in South Florida and did my fair share of boating and other outdoor activities. My father was a sailor and enjoyed all types of boating. Flying for Eastern Airlines he had days off at a time which allowed him to go fishing and race sailboats. By the time I was 15, he was seeing a dermatologist to manage his sun damage and skin cancers.
His dermatologist treated him with a peel. In hindsight, it was more likely than not a medicine I use today, 5-fluorouracil. I can still remember dad standing on the porch with his face red and crusted, as my mother took a picture of him. The memory stuck, probably, because of his appearance and because he was the photographer in the family. It was a difficult but effective treatment which he didn’t want to repeat. Thereafter, he was much more cautious about protecting his skin from the sun.
About that time, his dermatologist, Dr. Helfman, gave him samples of PreSun, the first sunscreen I had seen. Shortly thereafter, my dad, having suffered with precancer and skin cancer treatment, began to preach to me, the need to protect my skin. Now as an adult, I see that he was trying to protect me from making the same mistakes he had made. While in hindsight, I could’ve done a better job at protecting my skin, because of his experience and advice, I did do a better job of protecting my skin.
Now as a practicing dermatologist, I regularly discuss sun protection with my patients. Clothing, in the form of hats and long sleeve shirts, even long pants, when possible, is the best way to protect your skin from the sun. Sunscreens are important and need to be used in areas that can’t be covered with clothing.
Today we have a large selection of sunscreen products to choose from. Please refer to the following general suggestions that we give to our patients.
- Avoid the sun between 10 am – 4 pm.
- Protect your skin by seeking shade and wearing protective clothing: wide brimmed (4 inch) hat, long sleeve shirts and pants (with tight weave and dark color), sun clothing, swim shirts and when possible gloves.
- Clothing Products: Solumbra (1-800-882-7860), Columbia, Coolibar, and LL Bean.
- Rit Dye makes a UV product that when washed with your regular clothes makes them a more effective UV filter. It is available at Publix, or online: www.sunguardsunprotection.com.
- Umbrellas are helpful, as well as bandanas and scarves.
- Gloves are useful for boating, golfing, and gardening.
- Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and then reapply 10 minutes before going into sun. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling off, or significant sweating.
- Discard old products. Avoid leaving sunscreen in car for long periods.
- Long hair is a natural sunscreen.
- Apply more sunscreen than you think you need.
- Children less than 6 months can use sunscreen on small areas of the body such as the face and hands. Sunscreens containing titanium or zinc are preferred.
- Try different brands to see what you like. Avoid products other than lotions and sticks.
- Eye burning is common with sunscreens. Using either a stick/solid on the face or applying 1 hour before water contact can lessen this.
- Beach Sunscreens:
- Neutrogena Beach Defense: sunscreen stick, SPF 50
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® Face + Body Stick Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70
- Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50
- Equate (Walmart) Ultra Protection SPF 50
- No-Ad Sport SPF 50
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55
- Moisturizing Sunscreens:
- Complete All Day Moisturizer SPF 30 sensitive
- Eucerin Daily Protection SPF 30 Face Lotion
- Sensitive Skin Sunscreens:
- Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 60+
- Vanicream – 1-800-325-8232 or www.psico.com
- Acne Prone Skin Sunscreens:
- Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 for Sensitive Skin
- Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55
- Sunscreen which can be applied to wet skin:
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Spray Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- Makeup with sunscreen:
- Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 55–
- COVERGIRL + Olay Simply Ageless Foundation SPF 22