Soak Up The Sun- But Make Sure to Protect Your Skin

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Everyone wants to be healthier and look younger, and one simple trick can accomplish both. Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not — it’s called sunscreen.

We get vitamin D from the sun’s rays, so some experts believe a small amount of sun exposure first thing in the morning can benefit your mood, sleep, and immune system. Dr. Scott recommends having your morning coffee in front of an open window or on your deck or porch. But after that, it’s time to protect your skin. And yes, you need to do it every day.

The sun’s rays expose you to both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the ones that cause you to burn, but they can’t penetrate glass. (That’s why you won’t get burned when you’re in the car.) UVB rays are also needed to trigger the synthesis of vitamin-D. So standing in front of a closed window taking in some direct sunlight will not help you to produce vitamin D. UVA rays, on the other hand, penetrate your skin more deeply and can cause a tan — but in the process, these rays will also damage your skin and lead to premature aging. UVA and UVB rays also cause serious health problems, like skin cancer.

What if it’s cloudy, or you intend to spend the day inside? Sunscreen still matters! Even though it doesn’t look sunny, UV rays penetrate directly through clouds and are still reaching your skin and causing damage. Additionally, the high energy visible light (HEVL) from our computers, televisions, and phones also causes skin damage. Therefore, try to buy a sunscreen that guards against this “blue” light as well.

There are two overall categories of sun protection: chemical sunscreens and physical sunblocks.

Most people use chemical sunscreens made with ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and Mexoryl SX. They work by absorbing UV rays and they have a lot of benefits. Namely, they are water-resistant and will hold up for a couple of hours even while sweating or swimming.

But oxybenzone and, to a lesser extent, some other chemical sunscreens can damage coral reefs, even in extremely diluted quantities. Hawaii has banned oxybenzone outright! In situations where you will be in and around the ocean, you should consider using a physical sunblock made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which reflect UV rays and prevent them from reaching the skin.

We recommend patients wear an SPF 30 or higher daily and frequently reapply after sweating or getting wet. We also advise against spray sunscreens because they contain ingredients toxic to our lungs. If you must use one to cover hard-to-reach areas, first move away from others, hold your breath, spray, and then move again to avoid inhaling the spray.

Our office will be glad to recommend products to get you started on your journey to healthier skin. Give us a call for guidance today!  


Meet Dr. Scott - Your Dedicated Oculoplastic Surgeon

Renowned for his commitment to enhancing your eyelid and facial appearance while prioritizing your safety. Dr. Scott is board-certified in Ophthalmology and has specialized fellowship training in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  With extensive training at prestigious institutions, including the Medical College of Virginia, Manhattan Eye, Ear, & Throat Hospital, and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Dr. Scott brings a wealth of expertise to his craft. His accolades, including recognition as a Top Plastic Surgeon by Northern Virginia Magazine, underscore his dedication to excellence. Dr. Scott's passion lies in helping you achieve the best aesthetic results while safeguarding your eyesight.

Location: Fairfax - Northern Virginia

Areas of Expertise: Cosmetic laser eyelid surgery ( blepharoplasty ), ptosis surgery, treatment of benign and malignant eyelid cancers, correction of eyelid malposition – ectropion, entropion repair, and Botox and filler treatment.