Here’s a thought, how often do you wear sunscreen? If you’re like most people, you wear it mostly when going to the beach, going to Sea World, or the Zoo – which makes sense, because why pile on the extra layers on your skin when it’s cold outside, right?

San Diego sits pretty at about 40 degrees latitude, which is roughly the same position as Spain, Portugal, and southern Italy. Because of this, San Diego gets 266 days of sunshine per year, putting it high above the nation’s average.

Now, while this is excellent news for residents and visitors, it does also present challenges for skin care.    

Here’s a little fact many people don’t know (or choose to ignore); some light rays cannot be blocked out by weather. So in this case, ultraviolet rays (UV) are just as present and active outside on a hot, sunny day as they are during winter. They are independent of cold, moisture, or clouds.

What makes sunscreen important to skin care is the way it keeps skin soft, protects cells from degeneration caused by UV rays, and prevents mutations that might lead to things like melanoma.

Medical spas like Agelessandbeautiful recommend use of daily moisturizer with SPF protection will promote healthy, youthful, and wrinkle-free skin. Kind of makes you wonder why people don’t use it more often.  

To give you a better picture of why sunscreen should be part of your daily regimen, check out these four reasons:

1. Most of what people call aging is caused by years of sun damage

This might come as a shock, but some researchers actually believe that visible aging is caused primarily by sun exposure, and not how long you’ve lived. Reducing the time spent in the sun may serve to offset some of the damage, but according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the best way to protect yourself from premature aging is by using sunscreen.

2. Sunscreen works on all skin types

Those with a darker complexion may be able to mitigate some of the damage; however, UV rays damage all skin types. While it’s true that Caucasians are more likely to develop skin cancer from sun exposure, darker skin tones are not exempt – sunscreen is necessary for all. This is why it is recommended that everyone should wear sunscreen daily to keep skin protected and to reduce the risk of cancer.

3. Modern sunscreens offer many application methods

If what puts off sunscreen is the thought of adding that pasty zinc oxide to your face, then don’t worry, you have more options than you realize. The latest sunscreens use micronized particles to provide invisible protection from UV rays.

But there’s also an option to use chemical sunscreens which provide the same level of protection by interacting with the upper layers of skin, and you can apply it in the form of a spray, or smooth it over the surface of the skin.

4. Sun damage tends to be cumulative

Every bit of exposure contributes to minor damage at the cellular level. Remember, UV rays penetrate even the thickest clouds, so as long as it’s light outside, use sunscreen. The hours between 10.a.m. and 4.p.m. are when the sun is most damaging, so avoid spending too much time outside during these hours.

What to look for when buying a daily moisturizer with sunscreen

One of the reasons people avoid sunscreen is the memory of previous formulas that left a sticky, white cast on the face; but now you can get a variety of options today including sprays, creams, lotions, gels, etc.

These products vary in terms of texture and consistency, so anybody looking for more consistency or something with a stronger moisturizing agent to go with dry skin, there’s a product for every need.

So if you don’t know where to begin, check out our top tips for selecting the best sunscreen:

•    SPF factor: This is an indicator of the strength of the product and how much it will reflect or dissolve UV rays. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it should be one of the main attributes when selecting a sunscreen. The most reliable products are labeled SPF30 or higher.

•    Broad-spectrum sun protection: If the product can shield you against different kinds of harmful rays (apart from UV), then it falls under the category of broad-spectrum sunscreen.   

•    Water resistant sunscreen: It means the product won’t wash off immediately when exposed to water. It can keep you protected for a while even after you’ve come into contact with water.

What are the active ingredients in sunscreen?

Sunscreens are generally divided into two main groups, and they protect the skin by blocking the UV rays or by absorbing it. So for example, a “physical” sunscreen uses titanium oxide and/or zinc oxide as the active ingredients and shields the skin by reflecting harmful rays away from the skin.

On the other hand, chemical-based sunscreens absorb the energy from UV rays in a way that keeps skin protected. Both are great for sun protection, but with the chemical-based products there is a higher risk of skin irritation or allergy – however, this is a minor risk.

Is it safe to spend time outside?

Warmer climates invite people to spend time outdoors; which of course is a great way to interact with people and enjoy nature, however, what we’ve learned is that UV rays that damage your skin are not only active during sunny days or when the sky is entirely blue.

So for many of us who love San Diego for the weather and beautiful scenery, the best way to enjoy outdoors and stay healthy is by using sunscreen every day. It’s also highly recommended to maintain your skin by going to your local medical spa for upkeep.

When buying sunscreen, read the labels and check for products with infused natural oils and antioxidants that might be effective at preventing breakouts, irritation, excessive sebum production, and other common skin conditions.

Sunscreen is absorbed immediately once applied and will keep your skin soft, youthful, for years. The challenge is to wear it year-long.

So there you have it folks; we live in San Diego where you can be outside year round, take a few minutes out of your day to apply protection, your skin will thank you for it.  

About Dr. Daneshmand

Dr. Daneshmand has been nominated as a “Top Doctor in San Diego” as published in San Diego Magazine continuously since 2008-2018. He has completed extensive training in Aesthetic procedures including Vaser Liposelection and has been the Medical Director of Ageless and beautiful Medical Spa since May 2005. Learn more here>