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Staying Safe in the Sun

FAQs About Sunscreen Use

By

Updated May 05, 2009

As nearly everyone knows by now, there is no such thing as a safe tan. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends daily sunscreen use.

But what if your skin is oily and acne prone? Do you know how to keep your skin safe from the sun's rays without triggering acne breakouts?

Do I Really Need a Sunscreen?

Yes, you definitely do. Even if you don't typically sunburn. Even if you aren't laying out at the beach for hours.

Using sunscreen regularly is probably the single most important thing you can do for your skin. It will protect you from skin cancer and keep your skin looking young. Remember, you need to use it every day!

How Can I Choose the Right Sunscreen?

If you are prone to acne, you probably shy away from the idea of putting sunscreen on your skin. Who needs more oil and more breakouts?

But the right sunscreen is out there, if you know how to find it. Make sure you're using a noncomedogenic and oil-free brand. These types are less likely to cause breakouts. You may also like the moisturizer/sunscreen combos.

Does Sunscreen Really Protect Me?

There has been a lot of controversy lately regarding sunscreen. Some advocacy groups claim most products aren't giving the protection they promise. Other groups allege some sunscreen ingredients are ineffective or even unsafe. It's no wonder consumers are confused.

Most dermatologists agree, sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from the ravages of the sun. The trick is to use a sunscreen that gives you protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, understand the SPF rating system. The higher the SPF, the greater protection you receive.

If you're worried about or sensitive to certain ingredients, ask your dermatologist for recommendations. Choosing your sunscreen wisely will ensure you are adequately protected.

Doesn't the Sun Heal Acne?

The sun's rays may be slightly antimicrobial, but just laying out in the sun isn't going to heal a case of acne.

What sun exposure can do is up your risk of skin cancer, cause hyperpigmentation and premature aging.

Instead of hoping a tan will clear up your skin, try a proven acne treatment. You'll get far better results without the risks associated with sun exposure.

How Should I Use My Sunscreen?

First and foremost, apply it every single day and not just when you're going to be spending hours outdoors. Sunscreen should go on all exposed areas of skin.

Make sure you're using enough, too. You may be tempted to use just a small dab, especially if you're skin is oily or you're worried about breakouts. But a tiny bit of product isn't going to give you enough protection. Apply liberally, at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.

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