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Dr. Matthew B. Zarraga On Suncreen Myths

OK my South Florida friends…we know that we’re supposed to wear sunscreen but there are a lot of us who are not doing a great job at it. We go to the beach and we use the excuse of needing vitamin D or perhaps the excuse that it’s only going to be for an hour or that it’s not really that big a deal because we’re not fair-skinned. 

Shockingly, while skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, less than 10% of Americans actually apply sunscreen every day. I’m going to tell the truth and shame the devil, I am one of them but I am trying to be better.

Sunscreen is the first line of defense against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays that can damage our skin and lead to skin cancer, and it is important to know the facts and the products that are available. Luckily for us I have an expert in the field – my dermatologist, and Hotspots Advertiser, Matthew B. Zarraga, to help us with some of the myths and facts about SPF

Will sunscreen prevent the body from absorbing vitamin D?  

Your body makes vitamin D when your skin hits the sunlight.  In theory, using sunscreen could prevent the body from absorbing vitamin D.  However, most patients do not use enough sunscreen to completely block the sun or to prevent the body from making vitamin D.

If I have dark skin do I still need sunscreen?  

Absolutely.  Anyone, of any race, at any age, can develop a skin cancer.  In fact, Bob Marley died of melanoma.

Can you still get a tan while wearing sunscreen? 

Yes. Most people are able to still get a tan even while wearing sunscreen.

How long does a single application of sunscreen actually last? 

Typically, sunscreen protects the skin for about 2 hours after application.  However, if you sweat a lot or if you go swimming, these activities decrease the duration of efficacy of sunscreen.

Can sunscreen be waterproof?

According to the FDA, sunscreen cannot be labeled as waterproof anymore. Sunscreens can only be labeled as water-resistant up to either 40 or 80 minutes.

I heard that sunscreen ingredients are dangerous and can itself cause cancer.  

There are a few sunscreen ingredients that are under question as to their safety.  According to the FDA, the only safe and effective ingredients are purely physical blockers, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

If I work in an office or it’s a cloudy day… Do I still need to wear sunscreen?

It is smart to wear sunscreen every day.  Even on a cloudy day, UV rays can penetrate through the clouds and can cause you to burn.  It is quite common for patients to complain of severely bad sun burns on days when it is cloudy because they did not think they needed to wear sunscreen.

There are so many sunscreens on the market. Can you recommend some? 

We offer a full line of sunscreens at ZRoc Dermatology, all of which are composed of only the ingredients deemed safe by the FDA.  My favorite is the Z-RO SUN Mattifying Powder Sunscreen since it is easy to apply, decreases shine and is small enough to carry in your pocket.  Other sunscreens I recommend include Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection, TiZo3 Primer Sunscreen and Elta MD UV Replenish.

Matthew Zarraga, DO Cosmetic & General Dermatologist

Z-ROC Dermatology

2838 East Oakland Park Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306

(954) 564-0040


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