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Article: May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

girl holding BRUSH ON BLOCK with Skin Cancer Awareness ribbon.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Guest Post by Dr. Jeanette Black, MD

Wearing a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher every day is the best way to protect yourself from skin cancer. Many know to wear sunscreen while they are directly in the sun, but it is also important to wear sunscreen daily on exposed areas such as the face, neck, and chest to protect yourself from incidental radiation from the sun that goes through clouds and windows. While outdoors remember to reapply sunscreen frequently, especially after being in the water or sweating. 

Because it is so important to wear sunscreen every day and reapply it frequently, it is best to find sunscreen products that you really enjoy using. Sunscreen formulations have come a long way in the past decade and there are many options so you can find the products that work best for your skin and lifestyle. Some sunscreens are hydrating for dry skin and some are lighter for oily or acne prone skin. For those with sensitive skin or skin allergies, sunscreens can be formulated without the fragrances or chemicals that could potentially irritate sensitive skin. Sunscreens can come in sprays for extra convenience and some are tinted or are included in makeup products for cosmetic benefits. Reapplying sunscreen can be easy with powdered sunscreens which are convenient to carry in a bag and help skin look its best while also adding further protection from the sun. Powdered sunscreens are easy to apply on the scalp, face, neck, and chest, don’t leave a greasy feeling on the skin or in the hair, and help skin to look its best throughout the day.

The active ingredients in sunscreen can be mineral based, chemical based, or have combinations of both minerals and chemicals. Mineral based sunscreens are composed of zinc and/or titanium dioxide. Chemical based sunscreens can be formulated with a variety of chemical ingredients and most sunscreens have both minerals and chemicals in them. It is possible to have sensitivities or allergies to certain chemical sunscreens and those with sensitivities or allergies can look to avoid the chemical ingredients that they are sensitive to, or just opt to use mineral only sunscreens with zinc and/or titanium dioxide. 

Patients often ask for sunscreen recommendations and as a dermatologist I am always looking to find the best products out there for my patients. Below are some of my personal favorite sunscreens.

For applying sunscreen by the pool and at the beach I love Elta MD UV Spray.

For reapplying sunscreen on my face and chest throughout the day I love BRUSH ON BLOCK ®.

 For skin with a history of sun damage and skin cancers I love ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica.

Jeanette M. Black, M.D.

Board-certified Dermatologist

Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, California