The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal

MAY 2013

The 2012 edition of The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal features medically reviewed, reader-friendly articles such as tanning, the increasing incidence of skin cancer diagnoses among young women, & the prevalence of melanoma among white males over 50.

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Page 24 of 103

How to Choose The Right Sunscreen For Your Skin Type by people with sensitive skin and can usually be found in sunscreens for babies and children. Also, since getting children to use sunscreen is half the battle, try spray sunscreens or tubes with colorful packaging, which children may fnd more enjoyable to use. (Spray sunscreens should not be applied directly to the face; sprays should be misted into the hands, then spread on the face.) RITU SAINI, MD, AND ANDREA SzEMPLINSkI, MS, RPA-C S kin cancers are more prevalent than ever: one out of every fve Americans will get skin cancer at some point in their lives, and the disease will kill more than 12,000 people in the US in 2013.1,2 About 90 percent of the time, the risk of developing skin cancer is directly related to the amount and intensity of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure one receives from the sun.3,4,5 Fortunately, it's easy to limit excessive UV exposure — and lower your risk of skin cancer — with the regular use of sun protection. Sunscreen is an important part of the equation, and fnding the right one for your specifc needs can be a challenge.6,7 Incidental vs. intense exposure: For starters, the kind of sunscreen you use may vary depending on the type of outdoor exposure you are expecting. For incidental sun exposure — when you are outside only for minutes at a time — a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, which flters out about 93 percent of UV radiation, is usually suffcient. Your sunscreen should have broad- with allergy-prone skin or conditions such as acne or rosacea should avoid products containing preservatives or fragrances, as well as those containing PABA or oxybenzone. Again, the ingredients least likely to cause skin reactions are the physical sunscreens, as well as those made with salicylates and ecamsule.10 Allergy- Fortunately, it's easy to limit excessive UV exposure, and lower your risk of skin cancer, with the regular use of sun protection. SUNSCREEN BASICS Seventeen sunscreen ingredients have been approved for use in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); they include both chemical and physical substances.8 [See Table 1.] Chemical sunscreen ingredients, such as PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) and cinnamates, absorb UV rays and convert the sun's radiation into heat energy, while physical sunscreens (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) defect and scatter the rays before they penetrate your skin. Both types can be effective and safe if used properly. The question is, which sunscreen ingredients are right for you? For example, babies and toddlers have different sun protection needs than adults, while sunscreens made for dry skin may not suit people with acne or rosacea. The following guide should help you fnd the right sunscreen for your skin's needs. 2 For allergy-, acne-, and rosacea-prone skin: Patients spectrum protection, meaning it effectively protects against signifcant portions of both the ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) ranges of the light spectrum. Most broad-spectrum formulas contain multiple sunscreen ingredients. For extended, intense exposure, you should use a broadspectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. SPF 30 flters out up to 97 percent of the sun's UV radiation; SPF 50 flters out up to 98 percent. 1 For children's skin: Chemicals can irritate children's sensitive skin; PABA and oxybenzone in particular have been associated with skin reactions.9,10 The physical sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium dioxide tend to be better tolerated prone and rosacea patients should also avoid sunscreens containing alcohol. Patients with acne, however, may fnd gel formulas, which usually contain alcohol, more drying and less likely to aggravate acne. Acne-prone patients should avoid greasy sunscreens (often marketed as "creams"), since they may exacerbate breakouts; the UVB flter ensulizole has a lighter, less oily consistency than most other chemical sunscreens.11 However, people on topical acne medications, which tend to be drying, may fnd gels too irritating on their sensitized skin and may beneft from a light lotion or cream base. Since some acne medications increase sun sensitivity, making wearers more vulnerable to burning and skin damage, rigorous daily sun protection is especially important. 23

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