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Posts for tag: Sunscreen

By Michael J. Visconti, BSc & David Fivenson, MD
November 05, 2019
Category: Uncategorized

Sunscreen is a vital tool in the prevention of skin cancer, photoaging, and worsening of certain light-sensitive skin conditions. Because of this vast application, numerous formulations of sunscreens have been developed to encourage their use, including creams, lotions, gels, sprays, sticks, and powders. In this post, we highlight various formulations of sunscreen available today and discuss their recommended uses (Table).

Before discussing sunscreen formulations, it's important to highlight general sunscreen facts. When choosing a sunscreen, an SPF of 30 blocks ~97% of ultraviolet radiation and is the lowest recommended SPF. Sunscreen products with an SPF of 30 or higher that are also broad-spectrum (blocking multiples types of harmful ultraviolet radiation) and water-resistant are highly recommended.

Table - Various sunscreen formulations and their applications.

Sunscreen Formulations
Formulation Applications
  • Moisturizing, cosmetically pleasing formulation beneficial for dry skin.
  • Particularly useful for the face (especially if you are prone to dry skin).
  • Thin and easily spread - making lotions useful for providing coverage to large body areas.
  • Shot glass rule: it generally requires enough sunscreen to fill a 1.5 ounce shot glass to cover the entire body surface.
  • Useful in hair-bearing areas (scalp, forearms, lower legs, male chest and back).
  • Shot glass rule applies.
  • Easy to apply
  • Users often do not apply enough spray sunscreen.
    • Ensure you spray four passes (back and forth, back and forth) to each body region.
    • sunscreen with the skin surface and provide even coverage.
  • Be sure to hold the spray canister close to the skin and use caution in windy conditions in order to promote coverage and avoid inhalation.
  • Wax or petroleum-based formulation - assisting with water resistance.
  • Most beneficial for the skin around the eyes since this formulation won’t run or drip.
    • Also beneficial for the back of hands (an area of high sun exposure).
  • Apply four passes (back and forth, back and forth) to a skin region.
    • Rub in thoroughly afterwards.
  • Contain mineral sunscreens only.
  • Beneficial for “touching-up” and reapplying protection to the face (nose, midface, upper forehead) throughout the day since powders can easily be applied over make-up or moisturizers.
    • Generally, not recommended as a lone source of sunc protection.
  • Apply two passes (back and forth) over a skin area for the adequate protection.


* Special note on lip protection:
The lips are especially prone to sun damage and may also develop skin cancer. Numerous dual-action lip balms exist providing both moisturization and sun-protection.

When choosing a sunscreen formulation, it's important to choose one a product that is easiest for you to use so that you will routinely use it and adhere to a sun protection regimen. Despite the importance of sunscreen in protecting yourself from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, no sunscreen formulation is able to block all of the damaging light. Avoiding prime sun-exposure time (10 A.M. to 4 P.M.), wearing sun-protective clothing, and seeking out shaded areas are vital components of sun-protection.

* Disclaimer: This discussion summarizes the look and feel of sunscreen products but does not approach the nature of the active ingredients, which will be covered in another blog post.

By Sultan Qiblawi
May 15, 2019
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Skin   Summer   Sunscreen   UV  



With summer right around the corner, most of us will be outside more often and enjoying the sunshine. From traveling across the world, to hanging at the beach. There is one thing we can all count on when the temperature goes up; more sun exposure! While getting some sunlight is very important, it is also important to protect your skin from too much sun exposure. Here’s how you can get ready with our 5 tips for summer skin health.


1. Avoid the sun from 11am to 3pm!

Why? These are the hours that harmful UVA and UVB rays are the strongest. Both Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B rays have been linked to skin cancer and it is important to avoid going outside when these rays are the most abundant.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S, and will affect 1 in 5 Americans during their lifetime. Due to this fact, it is important to avoid excessive amounts of UVA and UVB, if possible.

2. Cover Up!

Wear clothing that covers your skin and a hat. Long sleeves and sun hats are helpful for reducing the amount of harmful rays that reach your skin. Look for clothing that have a UPF rating of 50+ as this provides the best UVA and UVB protection.

UPF is the ultraviolet protection factor and it measures the amount of UV rays the clothing blocks from reaching your skin.  UPF measures the fraction of ultraviolet waves that can penetrate the clothing fabric.Example UPF 50: allows just 1/50th of sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin

3. Use sunscreen - the right way!

If you are going out, wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater.


Make sure to apply the sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go out.


Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. For adults this means 1 ounce to fully cover the body surface.


Use a broad spectrum sunscreen. This means that the sunscreen protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays, which have both been shown to cause cancer.


Use a sunscreen that is water resistant. Look for sunscreens that are water resistant (meaning they are water resistant for 40 minutes) or ‘very water resistant’ (which means they are water resistant for 80 minutes). It is important to note that sunscreens are NOT waterproof or sweatproof, so you must reapply them every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.


4. Avoid tanning beds!


A “base tan” does not reduce sunburns, it just results in more overall UV exposure.UV light  damages the DNA of your skin, which increases the risk of getting skin cancer.


Tanning beds can also lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots.


5. Can I use that bottle of sunscreen from last summer?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least 3 years (as long as kept in the dark and at room temperature).

Look for an expiration date on the sunscreen, some will include it, but others will not. If it is expired, throw it away because it will not be as effective. If you buy a sunscreen without an expiration date, write the date you bought it on the bottle, so you know when to throw it out (3 years from the date of purchase).

Look for changes in consistency of the sunscreen, or any changes in the color. These can be signs to throw it away and buy a new bottle.


Like and subscribe to our Facebook page: and keep reading our future posts for more skin health tips! You can also visit us on for more patient resources about skin health!

Check out these great resources for more skin health tips:


American Academy of Dermatology:

Skin Cancer Foundation:

Melanoma: How can you avoid too much sun?:


Sultan Qiblawi

Fivenson Dermatology


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