Up to 90 percent of wrinkles and dark spots are caused by the sun. One million skin cancer cases are diagnosed every year from the result of this exposure as well, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

What’s the solution? Sunscreen of course. But be warned you're probably not as protected as you think. Most people only get 25 to 50 percent of the SPF listed on the bottle because they aren't slapping on enough, or rubbing it on all parts that need protecting. So yeah, that's the bad news.

The good news? Applying sunscreen isn't rocket science. And there are many great options to choose from. We carry a lot of them at Silk Laser and Aesthetic Centre. So it won’t be hard to find a product that is rewarding for your skin and its health.

But here come the protests "But a tan makes me look so much healthier" or "I am getting my Vitamin D.”

First of all there is no such thing as a safe tan (unless it's fake one), whether from the sun or the tanning beds. This is one of the unhealthiest things you can do for yourself and your skin.

If your levels of Vitamin D are low, please do not give up sunscreen and do not give up being sun smart, check with you doctor for how many IU's of Vitamin D you should be taking and make sure to eat sources of food high in Vitamin D as well. You can have the best of both worlds — adequate levels of vitamin D, without your skin suffering the aging consequences of unprotected sun exposure or even worse skin cancer.

Besides skin cancer the result of overexposure to the sun is damage, wrinkles, brown discoloration, and dull looking skin. Is it really worth it?

So how do we keep our skin healthy? When choosing a product there are some basics to look for. A product’s SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number is a basic indicator of how long you can stay in the sun before getting sunburned. SPF is crucial, but it’s only a measurement of sunburn (UVB) protection. Your skin needs to be protected from the sun's UVA rays as well. These are the culprits when it comes to signs of aging. To be sure you’re protected from UVA rays you have to check the active list of ingredients to see if zinc oxide titanium dioxide, avobenzone, or Mexoryl SX is in that list. Also look for antioxidant when shopping for sunscreen, these are a great way to neutralize the free radicals that slip through sunscreen, you can layer one underneath your SPF or apply one that already is loaded with them, like your diet, the more antioxidants the better.

Even if the SPF number on your sunscreen's label is 50 or greater, it still has limitations and can let approximately 3 percent of UV rays penetrate your skin. For daily use, use an SPF 30 or greater. Sitting directly in the sun, even with sunscreen on, is a bad idea because no sunscreen provides 100 percent protection.

As a general rule, it’s best to apply sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure and you must apply liberally. I recommend putting 2 layers on before heading out to a beach and then reapply every two hours, or after you swim, sweat or down a cocktail. Alcohol depletes your skin's natural supply of antioxidants, leaving it more vulnerable to sun damage.

You must use sunscreen on any part of your body that will see the sun, some common areas forgotten about are the hands, armpits, back of the neck, scalp, ears and top of feet. It’s even a good idea to apply to areas covered by clothing as well, because the rays can go right through clothes — cotton, linen and most swimsuits offer only the equivalent of SPF 5, because who wants a spotty bum right?

Now the good news all those fun days in the sun that have caused skin to look less than its best can be treated and somewhat reversed and it's never too late to prevent further damage from occurring. Some in office options include Peels, IPL treatments which have little to no downtime, to a great at home regimen of products targeted at the issue. These things can have you seeing sun spots run and to a more uniformed complexion.

If you have any questions please feel free to visit or make an appointment with Dr. Astaphan M.D, Christina Ribao PA-C or myself.

Silk Laser & Aesthetics Centre
924 N.Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334