Q: There are so many different sunscreens at the drug store! Which one do I buy?
A: We need to wear sunscreen every day to avoid freckles, abnormal moles, and skin cancer, including melanoma. Even driving or sitting by the office window can create an opportunity for ultraviolet A rays to cause premature aging and cancer. For daily wear, choose a product that is easy to apply and doesn’t have an unpleasant smell or leave an unsightly residue. For school-age children, that might be a foam or spray, providing they can hold their breath during application. For men, try a gel that is light enough for hair-bearing areas (read: that thinning spot!) For babies, stick with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide products, as these compounds are not absorbed through their skin. Ladies, choose a moisturizer with sunscreen and apply liberally. Have a face powder with SPF 30+ handy for reapplication throughout your busy day. The FDA has helped by simplifying sunscreen labels. For all members of the family, choose SPF 30-50. Don’t forget to ask for samples at your next visit to the dermatologist.
Karin Covi, M.D., Dermatologist
Memorial North Park
2051 Hamill Rd., Suite 301A, Hixson, TN 37343