By Amanda LaskaJuly 30, 2018
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo -- Sunscreen is important to remember if you'll be spending any time outside.
Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, that's broad spectrum and water resistant. Ideally, sunscreen should be worn every day on the face, neck and ears because we're exposed to sun every day while driving and doing errands.
Even a few minutes of sun is harmful to the skin, even if you don't get sun burned. Sunscreen also helps to prevent wrinkles and age spots, and can reverse skin damage!
There are two types of sunscreen: physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen.
Physical sunscreen works like a shield to deflect the sun's rays and is composed of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Chemical sunscreen works as a sponge to absorb the sun's rays, and examples include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.
Some are worried sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that are bad for the body.
Scientific studies have been performed on sunscreen, and none have proven that sunscreen is dangerous. If you are still worried, look for a product with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are minerals that sit on top of the skin rather than get absorbed into the skin and are just as effective against sunburn.
Also, dermatologists recommend that people supplement their vitamin D with pills rather than sunbathe due to the known risks of sun exposure.
Remember, even a few minutes of sun exposure every day adds up over time and increases your risk of skin cancer, like melanoma. Sunscreen can reduce your risk of these cancers and keep your skin looking young.
(Editor's note: Laska is a dermatologist at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.)