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Dermatology 411

Guidelines in Choosing Sunscreens

We know you love the sun; it feels good and provides us with vitamin D, but exposure to the sun is very dangerous. A tan, no matter how you get it, is bad for your skin! Here in Southern California, most sun damage is incidental; we get more sun just walking to and from the car or home than a person sunbathing all day at the beach in Seattle!


Using the RIGHT sunscreen is very important. The most effective ones contain Zinc and/or Titanium Dioxide. All of our sunscreens at Coastal Dermatology contain at least one of these extremely effective ingredients in a cosmetically elegant mixture that feels good, and glides on the skin while offering maximum protection.


Most important, is that your choice of sunscreen meets the criteria for good protection and it FEELS good. There are a variety of sunscreens now available for many different skin conditions, such as acne, sensitive skin, dry skin, pigmented skin, or extremely active lifestyles. Some are even tinted, offering an “even” look to the skin while protecting it simultaneously. In addition, many of these sunscreens are “micronized”, so they blend well and aren’t visible on the skin.


Dr. Kaplan advises to avoid aerosol spray-on sunscreens as they don’t actually protect you at a level you need, or as claimed on the package. Moreover, children can breathe in the vapors during application.


Using sunscreen should be a daily habit, that way you don’t have to remember to apply it. Please keep in mind, using sunscreen doesn’t make you invincible from the dangers of the sun; the best defense is shade and proper clothing. If you must be in the sun—it’s vitally important to re-apply sunscreen every hour.

Following these guidelines will keep your skin healthy, more beautiful, and most importantly, will lessen the likelihood of developing skin cancer in the years to come.