The Surgeon Minute

Year round sunscreen to stay young

Year round sunscreen to stay young

Sunscreen can go a long way toward protecting you from skin cancer and premature aging. That euphoric feeling we get walking on the beach, soaking in the sun, playing golf, doing yard work or walking the dog can come with a price if you’re not protected from the sun’s damaging rays. 

By Stephan J. Finical, MD
and Beverly Brooks
The Plastic Surgery Channel

Slather on the sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and it can lessen the chance of skin cancer, and signs of aging. Yes, it can reduce the number of fine lines and wrinkles! In the Annals of Internal Medicine, a published study demonstrated that people who applied sunscreen every day showed 24 percent less skin aging than those told to use the cream as they usually do.

Woman Applying SunscreenApply sunscreen year round

Board certified plastic surgeon and expert skin health specialist, Dr. Stephan Finical with Charlotte Plastic Surgery advises people to apply sunscreen year round. “Sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 needs to be applied during the winter, spring, summer and fall, and then re-applied every 80 minutes.” Finical adds, “Many times the hands, arms and neck are ignored which can lead to skin cancer and skin aging beyond your biological years.”

Protect yourself

“There are so many great sunscreens out there that are nice to the touch. They don’t  have to be thick or greasy. Some sunscreens, like ColoreScience, come in a powder form with an SPF of 30 and above, while SkinMedica offers oil free sunscreens.”

  • If you’re young, your sunburn may put you at risk for skin cancer decades later
  •  Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays with a minimum of SPF 15
  •  Reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes

Don’t get caught without sunscreen

The worst damage from the sun comes when we least expect it. Some solutions include keeping sunscreen with you at all times. Carry sunscreen on your boat, in the golf bag, in the kids backpack. “The truth is that if you get caught without protection and wind up with a bad sunburn you will pay dividends for years, and that’s just not worth it.”

What if damage is already done?

While it’s still a good idea to apply sunscreen to prevent further wrinkles from appearing, it may be wise to book an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss anti-aging options.


IPL (intense pulsed light) Photo Rejuvenation is one procedure that can eliminate sun spots and other signs of aging on the skin, including on the hands where they’re often most evident. For deep wrinkles on the face, dermal fillers or a face lift may be better options.

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