Protecting your skin with sunscreen - Dr Sherry Ingraham of Advanced Dermatology & Skin Care

Dr. Sherry Ingraham of Advanced Dermatology speaks with KHOU TV Channel 11 about protecting yourself from sun damaged skin by protecting yourself with sunscreen. When to apply, what type of sunscreen and all about the SPF numbers.


Sherry: We've been talking about getting your body ready for poolside and the beach, but now let's talk about getting your body ready when it comes to the sun. Joining me is dermatologist, Sherry Ingraham... Two Sherrys going on this morning. You have some do's and don'ts about sunscreen.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Absolutely. The most important thing is apply, apply, and reapply. You want to apply your sunscreen approximately 15 minutes before you're going to get in the water to dry skin, and you want to reapply it every two hours, no matter what the label says.

Sherry: Ah, good to know. Now, we were talking, what's the highest SPF number there is?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: There's some marketing out there for where you can buy up to a hundred, but the most important take home message is SPF 30 or higher gives you about a 97% protection.

Sherry: Oh, that's good.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: When you go up to about a 50, you're more in the 98% range, so it doesn't matter. 30 or higher. The American Academy of Dermatology now says 30 or higher. On the label you want to look for water resistant, which now they've changed the labeling. Water resistant only gets you 80 minutes. That's as high as-

Sherry: Didn't they used to say, "waterproof"?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: They did, but that was misleading. Water resistant which gets you about 80 minutes.

Sherry: Okay.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: You want to get SPF 30 or higher and you want broad spectrum UVA and UVB.

Sherry: What does the broad spectrum mean? Why is that important?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: That's important because the sun comes in all kinds of rays, and we want to block both the UVA and the UVB. UVB burns. UVA penetrates deeper and is more associated with the development of skin cancer and melanoma.

Sherry: The B stands for bad.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: B stands for bad. In the past we used to just have an SPF which referred to the UVB, the burning factor. Now we keep it simple. You want broad spectrum UVA and UVB.

Sherry: But UVA burns?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: UVB burns.

Sherry: UVB burns.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: UVA penetrates deeper and is more associated with skin cancer.

Sherry: Oh.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: You want to get them both.

Sherry: Then the A is for awful. You're right.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Right, exactly.

Sherry: They're both bad.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Exactly.

Sherry: Okay. Now at what SPF is it kind of like, okay, it's pointless, it's really not doing you any good?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: I tell patients SPF 30 or higher is great. The FDA says SPF 15 or higher is okay. Anything below 15, you're just not doing much.

Sherry: Got you. And then very quickly, is there a difference between what you should do for adults and what you should do for kids?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Yes. For kids, you just want to get it on there. If they're less than six months old, you should not be using sunscreen. You just want to cover them. Over six months, I often recommend a spray. This is what I use on my young children, because you're going to get it on them.

Sherry: Got you.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: They can be running around. Spray it all over them, reapply, reapply. In between the hours of 10:00 and 2:00, try and stay out of direct sunlight.

Sherry: Got you. Thank you, Dr. Sherry. We didn't get to the sunscreen pill, but I'm going to talk about that on my Facebook and Twitter page. Thank you, Dr. Sherry.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Great. Thank you so much.

Sherry: Great job. Good to meet you.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Thanks.