Everything You Need To Know About Sun Protection

Published: 2011-06-25 by Ines Markovic in Health

We all know that sun rays can be harmful for our skin, but we often find ourselves confused when it's time to choose the right sun protection product. Dr. Ariel Ostad, board certified NYC dermatologist shared with us the most important facts about sun protection.

First of all, Dr. Ostad notes there are several important ingredients one should look for when seeking full spectrum coverage and protection:

  • Micronized Zinc Oxide: For broad spectrum UV protection (including UVA rays). This also has soothing effects for skin irritations, and antimicrobial properties.
  • Titanium Dioxide:  An excellent absorber of sun rays (both UVA and UVAB rays), it provides long-term UV-protection and is water resistant.
  • Niacin: This ingredient is clinically shown to visibly improve skin tone, texture and hyper-pigmentation.
  • Vitamin E: Helps heal and protect the skin.

After buying your sun lotion, you must know the proper way to apply it. Read what Dr. Ostad has to say about this:

  • Know Your SPF - Dr. Ostad says it is important to use at least SPF 30 regardless of your skin type or color. According to Dr. Ostad, “sunscreens should be applied to exposed areas 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors.” When using sunscreen, Dr. Ostad also notes to pay special attention to your face, ears, hands and arms, which are sometimes forgotten or not properly covered. One ounce, about the amount in a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the body properly – don’t skimp on your sunscreen!  Dr. Ostad adds that it is also a known fact that any SPF over 30 is negligible in protection.
  • Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D - Many people tout the sun’s ability to help our body absorb vitamin D. According to Dr. Ostad, “it is important to get 20 minutes of direct sun per day, which will allow our bodies to absorb the normal level of vitamin D needed.” You should be careful to avoid the sun during the hours of 10am – 3pm, when the sun is strongest.
Dr. Ostad also recommends people have a thorough skin exam every year to detect and prevent the three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. According to Dr. Ostad, “you can also look at your own skin spots regularly and be very attentive to any changes or growth. A melanoma can be effectively treated if detected early.” Some melanomas can occur in areas that are covered by hair or clothing, making them difficult to self-examine. Warning signs of melanoma include:
  • Asymmetry: Melanomas are usually characterized by an irregular and asymmetrical shape. This means that one half of the spot does not match the other half.
  • Border: The edges of the old mole may turn scalloped or rough. New skin spots with undefined borders may also appear.
  • Color: Existing or new fast growing moles with uneven coloring (various shades of brown or black, colorless areas) are the first signs of skin cancer. These spots may later become red, blue or white.
  • Diameter: Early melanoma spots usually are greater than 6mm in diameter.
About Ariel Ostad, MD

Dr. Ostad is a board certified Dermatologist and Dermatologic Surgeon, a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at New York University Medical Center, and a former contributing editor to the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery. He has authored numerous articles on topics including chemical peeling agents, hair follicle stem cells, liposuction, and laser surgery, and has written textbook chapters in Cutaneous Oncology (Blackwell 1998). He is also a co-author of a textbook entitled Practical Management of Skin Cancer (Lippincott-Raven, 1998). Dr. Ostad is also a course instructor for the American Academy of Dermatology, and is frequently called on to lecture on laser surgery and skin cancer.

Source: The New York Times By GARDINER HARRIS (Published June 14, 2011)


Ines Markovic


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