FAQ – Sunscreens

Posted by Dr Nokubonga Khoza on

suncreen questions answered

“Sun protection doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive – it needs to be consistent. Keep it simple, but do it forever!”⠀- Hillary Fogelson⠀

If you’re still not 100% sure how to protect your skin against the harsh rays of the sun, these frequently asked sunscreen questions will help shine a bit of light on sun protection. As summer in South Africa arrives, we will soon be enjoying as much time as possible outdoors. However young, old, white, dark, active or non-active you may be, sunscreen is something that no one can afford to skip.

Wearing sunscreen today and on a daily basis will save you thousands of rand on cosmetic procedures in the future. As with many skin issues, prevention is always better than cure. Sun protection does not only help to reduce the risk of melanoma; it also helps reduce the signs of ageing, protecting your skin and keeping it in its best possible condition. To help give you a better idea of why it is so important to protect your skin every day, have a look at these sunscreen questions.

Your Sunscreen Questions Answered

Some of the biggest sunscreen questions that we are often asked here at Durban Skin Doctor include the following:

Do I really need to wear sunscreen every day?

In a nutshell, yes. Daily sunscreen is your best protection against damage caused by the sun. Sunscreen should always be your first choice for a healthy skin care routine. There is no point buying sunscreen if you are not going to wear it every day. An SPF 30-50 sunscreen will be adequate for most people. If you want broad coverage, look for the +UVA sign.

Do darker skinned people need to worry about sunscreen?

You will need to be aware of the effects of the sun on your skin, no matter what skin tone you have. Remember that Bob Marley died of a melanoma skin cancer. Black and coloured people of all ages are just as at risk of skin cancer as white people of all ages. Children, teens, adults and older folk are also equally at risk. Protect yourself, protect your health and protect your skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen. Don’t forget to wear protective clothing when going into the sun as well. Wear hats, sunglasses, and UV protective clothing if you plan to spend the day out in the sun. If you are swimming, running or cycling, reapply sunscreen afterward.

How do I choose the right sunscreen for my skin?

For oily skin, try a light, oil-free lotion, gel or spray formulation. Oil control or dry touch sunscreens are ideal. For dry skin, look for a cream formulation that is soothing and nourishing. For sensitive skin, mineral sunscreens are excellent. Pigmented sunscreens are also worth trying. These sunscreen products protect your skin while camouflaging minor issues at the same time. When in doubt, always speak to your dermatologist.

What else can I do to protect my skin?

Beyond sunscreens, other skincare products that will protect your skin include antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, resveratrol, green tea, grapeseed oil and niacinamide applied topically. These products will increase collagen synthesis, inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, help buffer atmospheric damage from infra-red and ozone, protect your skin against visible light and reduce inflammation caused by air pollution. These ingredients also reduce photo-damage, reduce fine lines and reduce hyper-pigmentation and acne scarring. For best results, use an antioxidant cocktail rather than a single antioxidant.

How do I know it’s melanoma and not a mole?

Melanoma spots are asymmetrical, with irregular borders. They change colours or include multiple colours in a single spot. They are often larger than 6mm in diameter. They may change over time. If you are ever unsure, do not take the chance of waiting to see what happens. Always speak to an experienced dermatologist in Durban if you have any concerns at all. Early detection is essential to treat skin cancer as quickly as possible.

Got any further questions? Get in touch with Durban Skin Doctor for any sunscreen questions you may have relating to products, melanoma or overall skin protection.

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