All About Sunscreen

Just because summer’s come to an end doesn’t mean the sun will take time off too. Our galaxy’s favorite ball of fire still peeks its head through the clouds during the cold season and because of that, the risk of skin damage from UV rays is still very present.

The sun sticking around means you need to shield yourself from UV rays whenever possible, and one way to do this is with sunscreen! However, with so many different product options and ingredients, it’s often confusing to know what’s what. Check out this brief guide we’ve assembled below for all your sunscreen questions and concerns.

What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreens are products that come in the form of lotions, waxes, or gels that protect the skin from damage by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Too much exposure to this radiation can cause sunburn, age spots, and even skin cancer.

What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. This term refers to how effectively the sunscreen protects against different types of ultraviolet radiation. The higher the SPF, the longer you can stay in the sun and be exposed to that type of radiation. Just a reminder that the SPF is only used to give consumers a general sense of how well the skin will be protected. Other factors like skin type, how much you apply to the skin, and the amount of sunscreen the skin absorbs should also be taken into account.

What are UVA and UVB?

These acronyms refer to the different types of radiation that sunscreens protect against. Ultraviolet A makes up 95 percent of the UV radiation that hits the Earth and penetrates the skin more deeply than Ultraviolet B. Ultraviolet B doesn’t penetrate the skin as deeply but still causes damage like sunburn and cancer. While some sunscreens only protect against either UVA or UVB, broad-spectrum sunscreen that defends against both types is also available for purchase

How does it work?

This all depends on the type of sunscreen product you purchase. Inorganic sunscreens contain chemicals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Together these substances work as a physical barrier to reflect and scatter ultraviolet waves away from the skin. Organic, carbon-based sunscreens work differently, in that they absorb the ultraviolet radiation so that our skin doesn’t.

Is it safe to use?

Although there has been some controversy over the safety of sunscreen use, The Skin Cancer Foundation says that if used as directed, the products are perfectly safe. They also recommend with a sun-protection routine that consists of sunscreen use, seeking shade whenever possible, and covering up with clothes and accessories. When in doubt, only purchase sunscreen products that have the Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval on the bottle.


Vein and Skin Laser Center is able to treat any skin condition caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays. To schedule a consultation please call us at 404-508-4320.

This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | October 24, 2014

Indoor Tanning and its Dangers

Did you know that tanning beds are being used by more than one million people in the United States every single day? In a study completed this year, 13 percent of American adults, 43 percent of college students, and 10 percent of teens admitted to using a tanning bed or sunlamp in the past 12 months. Annual revenue from the industry is estimated at more than two billion.

These customers believe indoor tanning is a safe and reliable way to acquire an attractive glow and that they can control the amount of ultraviolet rays they are receiving. This is, sadly, a myth.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from artificial sources such as tanning beds and sunlamps have been declared known carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. These devices lead to more than 450,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and 10,000 melanoma cases each year in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Every turn under the lamp increases the likelihood of damage to the skin. Additionally, indoor tanning users are vulnerable to premature skin aging, suppression of the immune system, and damage to the eyes, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Natural exposure to the sun already does plenty of damage, which is why the use of sunscreen is so crucial. We will be addressing the subject of sunscreen and other protective measures in a separate blog.

In a positive move, the United States Food and Drug Administration recently strengthened regulations regarding the use of indoor tanning beds and sunlamps:

1) Manufacturers must now prove that their equipment has met performance testing requirements.
2) The risks of using these devices must be clearly explained to consumers.
3) Recommendations of skin cancer screening must be given to frequent users.
4) People under the age of 18 should avoid sunlamps altogether.

At Vein and Skin Laser Center, there are a number of treatments that can improve the look and feel of your skin. Sun damage, age spots, and other conditions can be addressed by our experienced physicians. To schedule a consultation, please call us at 404-508-4320.


This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | October 7, 2014