Living in Florida it’s hard to avoid damaging your skin from the sun, but Dr. Ross Clevens wants you to know what the best SPF level is best for you and what treatments are available to you if you are looking to treat sun damaged skin. Two million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer ever year. Not only does exposure to the sun cause skin cancer, it is also proven to accelerate visible signs of aging like lines and dark spots. So it’s particularly important to take care of your skin in every way you can. The first place to start is applying sunscreen, even in the winter. But which SPF is right for you and is there really even a difference?

SPF 15: Minimal Protection
While most dermatologists will agree any SPF is better than none, the FDA’s recommendation is for consumers to use “sunscreens with broad-spectrum SPF values of 15 or higher regularly and as directed.” While many makeups and moisturizers have a low SPF, it can give the consumer a false sense of protection so consider bumping up the SPF level depending on how much sun exposure you will encounter.

SPF 20: Limited Protection
SPF 20 will protect the skin against 20 times the exposure of UV rays than if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all.  Low SPF levels work great if you are running errands and inside the house, car, and stores but not if you are sunbathing for hours.

SPF 30: Considerable Protection
Be it for the lips, face or body, SPF 30 is the official minimum number the AAD says should be applied to any exposed skin. “

SPF 50: Maximum Protection
An SPF of 50 will block 98 percent of harmful rays. But, an SPF of 15 blocks 93 percent (so an SPF of 50 is only 5 percent more effective). The FDA is looking to cap SPF at 50+ because of “insufficient data that products above this amount provide additional protection.

Even if you choose the right SPF level to protect your skin, you are still at risk for developing sun damage. There is no one best way to treat sun-damaged skin.  There are so many excellent treatments available to reverse the effects of sun damage. A lot depends upon your skin type, degree of sun damage, willingness to accept recovery time, and, your budget. The most important factor is to have your skin care regimen supervised by a qualified individual such as a facial plastic surgeon, dermatologist or aesthetician under direct physician supervision. That way, your progress can be monitored properly ensuring good results and minimizing the risk of problems.  In any case, the first key is a good sunblock --one that you wear every day. Your skin care professional can guide you through the array of non-surgical options such as glycolic acids, topical antioxidants and vitamin C based products. Retin A tends to sensitize your skin to the sun and, over time, loses its effectiveness at improving lines and wrinkles. If you are interested in treating your sun damaged skin or any facial cosmetic surgery in Central Florida, then call our office at 321.727.3223 to schedule an appointment. We would love to meet with you and discuss the best treatment options available to you.

Dr. Clevens

Ross A. Clevens, MD

Melbourne Florida Facial Plastic Surgeon