Ask the Diva

Ask the Derm Diva – July 2021

July 2021:

Dear Savvy Derm Diva,

Walking down the aisle at the store to purchase sunscreen literally makes my head spin! Do you have any guidelines on what I should look for?

Sunscreen Help – Kathy W.

Dear Sunscreen Help,

I cannot even imagine what a layperson seeking a good sunscreen goes through when trying to find the right UV protection. I am so glad you asked. First of all, you want to pick up something that you will use daily with a reapplication of 1-2 hours, after swimming or sweating. The best sunscreen works by reapplication which I feel many people, unfortunately, do not do! First of all, look for an SPF of at least 30. This is enough as long as you follow the rules of proper sunscreen use as I mentioned above. You want to use a full shot glass for the body and 1 & 1/2 teaspoon for the face. For maximum protection, look for Zinc Oxide as the first ingredient. This mineral bock will reflect UV radiation and provide your broad-spectrum coverage. They now come in transparent versions which can be friendly for most skin colors. It is a great option for all skin types. Chemical options such as octinoxate can also provide some protection and make it a more cosmetically elegant formulation. I often see these two ingredients together. Our very own Invisible Shield available at Advanced Dermatology & Aesthetic Medicine is a patient favorite. I would love to hear all about your fave brands! Please share!

Diva Tip: A physical sunscreen can block and reflect UV waves, and a chemical sunscreen absorbs the UV waves that convert into heat.

Dear Savvy Derm Diva,

My husband refuses to wear sunscreen on his body because he feels his shirt is protecting him enough against the dangers of UV Radiation. I think otherwise. Who is correct?

T-Shirt Debate ~ Olga G.

Dear T-Shirt Debate,

You both are somewhat. A regular T-shirt can provide protection of a UPF of 3-7, which means, if it usually takes your husband 10 minutes to get a sunburn, he will only be protected for about 30-70 minutes. Not a wise choice if he is going out for the full day. However, you have to think of the skin that is not covered, which should be protected by a broad-spectrum SPF. Clothing companies are offering UPF 50 that makes a nice option. A favorite, good-quality brand is Coolibar because it is all about the “weave” of the fabric. They offer reliable UPF clothing for the entire family. Just don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen to the areas where the clothing does not cover for full coverage and protection.

Diva Tip: No matter your skin color, it is always good to protect it from UV radiation.

Renata Block, MMS, PA-C, is the creator of Savvy Derm Diva, an online resource for proper skincare. Ask Savvy Derm Diva is a monthly column answering your skincare related concerns! Make sure you follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! You can make an appointment with her via TeleMedicine or in person at Advanced Dermatology & Aesthetic Medicine, LLC, or TEXT to 847-802-9667.