How to Treat
Sun protection through the daily application of broad spectrum sunscreen is imperative to the prevention of skin cancer. The myth that sun protection only needs to be utilized when spending long periods outdoors or during peak hours is just that, a myth. Although UVB rays do peak between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., UVA rays remain constant throughout the day and are able to penetrate windows, clouds and clothing. In addition, UV radiation is emitted from fluorescent and halogen bulbs found in most offices and homes. It is for this reason that everyone must wear sunscreen everyday regardless of the amount of time spent outdoors.
Consumers are often not aware that the sun protection factor (SPF) label only indicates the amount of UVB protection provided by a product. Certain ingredients must be utilized in order to receive UVA protection as well. In order for a product to provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or ecampsule (MexorylTM) must be included. Extremely high ratings of SPF can also be deceiving, as SPF protection does not increase proportionally with an increased SPF number (e.g. an SPF 15 sunscreen protects the skin from 93% of UVB radiation, an SPF 30 sunscreen provides 97% protection and an SPF 65 provides approximately 98% protection). There are no sun protection products that block out 100% of UV rays. Unfortunately, higher SPF products can be less cosmetically elegant and could decrease patient compliance. Some ingredients are more stable than others, although all sunscreens break down over time regardless of water resistance, SPF rating or ingredients used. Sunscreen products should be reapplied every two hours and following swimming or vigorous activity. As skin care professionals it is important to educate our patients on the importance of adequate daily sun protection.