Can Sunscreen Prevent Skin Cancer?

May 17, 2022

When used correctly, sunscreen can work to decrease the risk of a patient developing skin cancer and precancers. Regularly using SPF 15 can reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and melanoma by 50%. Additionally, sunscreen can prevent premature signs of aging. This includes wrinkles, sagging, and age spots.

AFC Urgent Care Stoneham can provide you with the information you need to protect your skin this summer. The health and wellness of our community is our number one priority. Visit our walk-in center for more information.


Who Should Wear Sunscreen?

Everyone over 6 months of age should wear sunscreen every day. Whether you tan easily or not or have naturally darker skin, you should wear sunscreen daily. Skin damage occurs over a lifetime.

Babies under 6 months have highly sensitive skin, and it's not advised to use sunscreen on their skin. Instead, keep them in the shade and out of direct sunlight until they are old enough to use sunscreen.


Types of Sunscreen Available

Any brand of sunscreen is recommended for use, so long as it provides adequate protection and has SPF 15 or higher. The ingredients in sunscreen can help you make an educated decision on the type of brand you want to use.

Mineral sunscreen includes ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which block and scatter the sun's UV rays before they pierce the skin. Chemical sunscreen ingredients include avobenzone and octisalate, which absorb harmful UV rays.

Sunscreen of 15 or higher is recommended for daily use. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, SPF 30 or higher is best.

Broad-spectrum sunscreen works to protect against both UVA and UVB sun rays. Look for broad-spectrum on the label to ensure you are getting the most protection from your sunscreen.


When to Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be used daily. Try to apply 30 minutes before heading outdoors, and be sure to reapply every two hours. Even when it is cloudy, 80% of the sun's UV rays reach the earth. Skin damage can occur if patients don't wear sunscreen when it's cloudy.


Why Should I Use Sunscreen?

Sunscreen reduces the risk of developing skin cancer and lowers patient's overall UV exposure. Skin conditions, a family history of skin cancer, and photosensitivity are all factors to consider when choosing a sunscreen type. If a patient has skin sensitivity or a history of melanoma, it's important to take proper action to stay safe.

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