How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Face

Your face is highly vulnerable to damage — not only is the skin more delicate, it’s also continually exposed whether you’re outside, in a car, or even sitting near a window. With summer and stronger rays from the sun, already here, we want you to protect yourself from sunburns, premature aging, and increased risk of skin cancer. To help you do that, Dr. Ortiz, a leading plastic surgeon in Raleigh, is sharing tips on choosing the best sunscreen for your face.

Understanding UVA and UVB Rays

First, let’s look at ultraviolet radiation — the energy produced from the sun’s rays. There are two main types to be concerned with:

  • UVA rays are longer and penetrate deep into the skin, damaging cells, speeding up the aging process, and increasing the risk of certain skin cancers.
  • UVB rays are shorter, affecting the top layers of skin, causing sunburns, and increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Because both types can increase your risk of skin cancer, it’s essential to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that is approved by the FDA to block both types of rays.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

Sunscreen contains physical particles including titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that reflect UV rays and stop them from penetrating into the skin. They also include chemical particles that react with UV rays, absorbing the energy before it can penetrate the skin. This combination of chemical and physical particles combats both UVA and UVB rays, protecting your skin and minimizing damage.

Understanding SPF in Sunscreen

SPF refers to the sun protection factor. This is the measurement of how long it takes for UVB rays to burn the skin with sunscreen compared to without sunscreen. For example, SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, so it takes around 15 times longer for a sunburn to occur using this strength than it would if you went without sunscreen. On the other hand, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UVB rays, protecting skin from sunburn for 50 times longer than it would take if no skin protection was used.  Applying an SPF 50 is ideal for the face as it offers all-day protection when applied correctly, though if you are swimming or sweating, it should be applied every hour.

sunscreen tips from raleigh plastic surgeon

Choosing the Right Sunscreen for Your Face

In addition to using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 50 for optimal protection, you also want to choose an option that’s good for your skin. Many sunscreens are oily or greasy, and often, the drugstore brand you use on your arms and legs can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and irritation when you use it on your face. That’s why it’s important to choose a high-quality option that is non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn’t block pores) and dermatologist tested. This way your skin will stay fresh and clear even with daily use, and it will be optimally protected for both short and long-term health.

Shop Obagi Sun Shield™ Sunscreens Today

At North Raleigh Plastic Surgery, we’re proud to connect you with Obagi Medical skin care products. In addition to their line of anti-aging and skin-improving cleansers, moisturizers, and serums, they also have top-quality sunscreens for every skin type. In addition to blocking UVA and UVB rays, Obagi Sun Shield broad spectrum sunscreens also provide infrared defense to protect the skin from oxidative stress.

If you’ve already experienced premature aging due to sun damage and other issues, and you are considering a facelift, brow lift, or non-surgical skin treatment, we can help. Schedule a consultation today by calling 919-532-2270 or complete our easy-to-use online contact form below.