As summer is here, I offer tips for summertime skin protection with sunscreens. As much as we all love the sun, everyone — whether man or woman needs to be aware of the dangers of too much sun exposure and take the proper precautions to fully enjoy the season — and the sun year-round.

What does SPF mean?

The SPF number tells you how long the sun’s radiation would take to redden skin when using sunscreen versus amount of time without sunscreen. So, SPF 30 would take you 30 times longer to burn than without sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend using SPF of at least 30.

SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays while SPF 30 blocks 97%. SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. Although a small difference, there is that difference! Also, people generally don’t wear enough sunscreen (the appropriate amount is an entire shot glassful) reapplied every 2 hours. SPF 50 is enough protection if enough is applied and very often, especially after swimming or sweating.

What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen?

Physical (mineral) sunscreens sit on surface of skin and act as shield. Chemical sunscreens skin into skin and act as a sponge. If you have acne or sensitive skin, dermatologists recommend mineral sunscreen. Physical sunscreens contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Chemical sunscreens are safe but can cause allergic reactions in those sensitive to active ingredients. Some ingredients in chemical sunscreens are avobenzone, oxybenzone, helioplex, mexoryl, homosalate.

Both protect against harmful UVA and UVN rays (so are broad spectrum)). Chemical sunscreens last longer in the water and when sweating. But mineral sunscreens offer immediate protection, but mineral sunscreens need to be rubbed in.

Do sunscreens prevent skin aging?

YES! Ultraviolet (UV) is both UVA and UVB. UVA is the longer wave UV ray that penetrates deep into skin, causing skin damage, skin cancer and aging. UVB is the shorter one that affects the outer layer of skin leading to skin damage and cancer.

Are sunscreens dangerous?

Although it’s been reported that the body absorbs ingredients in sunscreens that are too high, the health effects are unclear. But the benefits of sunscreens outweigh the risk. Mineral sunscreens are an option; as the studies of suspected chemicals (benzene contamination), octocrylene and benzophenone are in chemical sunscreens. Remember: 20 Americans die from melanoma every day. Also try to avoid sun between 10-4 p.m.

Can you be allergic to sunscreens?

Yes. Some fragrances and oxybenzone can cause allergic reactions such as rash or hives. It can happen suddenly or may take two days. Physical sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have fewer allergic reactions.

Your summer read :

“The Doctor’s Secret” by Tina K. Funt, M.D. It’s a fun easy read when you are at the beach or pool (under umbrella!). Follow the story of a woman becoming a doctor in the 1980’s when so few women picked that choice of career. Explore the trials and tribulations of the doctor’s journey and enjoy the sexy steamy romance episodes.

Dr. Tina K. Funt is a Board-Certified Dermatologist practicing in Garden City for 33 years. She works for Schweiger Dermatology Group, with 80+ offices throughout Long Island and the tri-state. Dr. Funt specializes in both medical and cosmetic dermatology. Her passions are medicine, the arts, golf and dogs. You can send Dr. Tina a question at