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Dr. Kent Gaylord, Board Certified in Family Practice

Dr. Kent Gaylord, Board Certified in Family Practice

Dr. Kent Gaylord answers this week’s question,


(Yes, sunscreen even in winter)

Here’s a quick guide to help you make the right choice:

1. Look for broad spectrum.  Most sunscreens protect against only UVB. UVA is also damaging to the skin, so look for a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB.  It will be labeled “broad spectrum.” A common ingredient to protect against UVA is avobenzone (Parsol 1789), and this will be combined with other sunscreen ingredients (that protect against UVB).  Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are good ingredients that protect against both UVA and UVB.

2. What’s up with SPF?  SPF measures ability to protect against UVB.  SPF does not measure protection against UVA.  New regulations on labeling are coming to recognize this. Once again look for broad spectrum. With the multitude of SPF products manufactured (30,50, 90, etc.), this can be very confusing. New labeling will eliminate the higher numbers and simply be listed as 30+.

3. If you’re playing in the water you may need water resistant sunscreen.  These usually need to be reapplied every two hours.

So the bottom line is new labeling is coming on sunscreens. Look for a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, SPF of 30 (+), water resistant if you need it, and don’t forget to apply generously, and reapply often.

Editor’s note: The Telluride Medical Center is the only 24-hour emergency facility within 65 miles. You can choose your own medical provider, visit with a specialist or take advantage of their Mountain Skin Care services. As a mountain town in a challenging, remote environment, a thriving medical center is vital to our community’s health.

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