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At Northeastern Plastic Surgery, we believe that sunscreen should be at the foundation of everyone’s summer skin care regimen. Men, women, and children of all ages can significantly benefit from applying a sunscreen, particularly during summer when the sun’s harmful UV rays are at their strongest. We recommend that our patients choose a broad-spectrum product that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 30.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. If you’d typically burn after 20 minutes in the sun, then using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 would provide 30 times that amount of protection, or about 10 hours.

Keep in mind that calculation only applies to UVB rays, which are responsible for sunburn on the outer layer of skin, but not UVA rays, which penetrate deeper in the skin. Plus, that calculation is accurate only if the sunscreen is applied properly, which it often isn’t. That’s why it’s recommended that you reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours you’re exposed to the sun.

Why Should I Use Sunscreen with SPF?

Here are four reasons why your summer skin care routine should start with a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or more:

  1. Sunburn protection

At the very least, sunscreen protects you from getting a painful sunburn and the pink skin and unsightly peeling that comes with it. That, for many people, is reason enough to slather on the sunscreen, although the benefits of sunscreen go way beyond saving you from some discomfort.

  1. Wrinkle reduction

Sunscreen is the best defense against wrinkles. The sun is responsible for most of the visible aging of your skin—far more than all other factors combined. In fact, many scientific estimates have shown that up to 80 to 90% of how young or old you look for your age is due to how much sun exposure you’ve sustained.

  1. Skin spot suppression

After a long summer spent outside in the sun, you may notice new white spots on your skin. Most of the time, these white spots on the skin are a sign of sun damage. Skin cells that have been overexposed to UV rays from the sun will often stop producing melanin, creating areas of depigmentation, or white spots. In other cases, the areas may darken from sun damage, creating brown spots. While these spots are usually benign, they are a sign that you should be doing more to protect your skin from the sun.

  1. Cancer prevention

Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of all cancers in the United States. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun is the main factor that causes skin cells to become cancer cells. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin causing genetic damage to the skin cells and shutting down immune response. UVB rays cause sunburn on the outer layers of skin, which is a significant risk factor for skin cancer, especially melanoma. If the body is unable to repair this damage, then cells can begin to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. This growth can eventually form a tumor and spread to other organs and, left untreated, can be fatal. Sunscreen has been shown to be very effective at preventing skin cancer when used properly.

How do I apply sunscreen?

Start your day by applying about two ounces of sunscreen to all exposed areas of your skin. Sunscreen wears off surprisingly quickly so be sure to re-apply every two hours you are in the sun, and more often than that if you are spending time in water. And as great as sunscreen is, don’t rely on it exclusively. Go indoors to take breaks from the sun, use umbrellas, and wear protective clothing.

We’ve all heard about the virtues of sunscreen by now, but it bears repeating. A high-quality sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is a critical element in your summer skin care routine because it can help protect you from sunburn, wrinkles, skin spots, and perhaps most importantly, skin cancer.


Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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