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Sunscreen advice needed
millicentbash posted:
Now that I am finished with the Carac cream treatment on my face, I plan on using a sunscreen every day. I have never been a sun worshipper and didn't regularly use sunscreen. The results of the Carac treatment however showed that just every day living resulted in both AK and basal cell on my face.

I've been reading a lot about the various types of sunscreens. From what I can gather, a physical sunblocking type might be best for everyday use. The two physical blockers are zinc and titanium dioxide.

Has anyone used powdered sunblock on their face? I've noticed that several are titanium based while others are zinc based and very few have both zinc and titanium combined.

Also, is SPF 15 enough for daily use? Or should I seek a product that is a higher SPF? Do I need to use a product with a combination or is a sunblock with either only zinc or only titanium enough protection. Thanks for any advice and recommendations on various products. I'm really a newbie when it comes to sunblocks for everyday use.
Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Millicentbash,

What a great question!

I wanted to pop in while waiting for possible expert response and thank you for following up and letting us be a part of your journey!

Skin Cancer Foundation
Ritu Saini, MD responded:
Your plan to use sunscreen every day is a wise one. The damage from sun exposure all adds up over time, whether you're lying on the beach or just spending a few minutes walking from the parking lot to the store, and your history of AK and basal cell carcinoma shows that significant skin damage has already been done, putting you at increased risk of developing other precancers and skin cancers.

Yes, the physical (aka "inorganic") sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered among the best sunscreen ingredients because they provide effective protection against the widest range of the sun's UVB and UVA wavelengths. They will no longer be called "sunblocks," nonetheless, because the FDA has deemed that NO sunscreen can BLOCK UV completely (and doesn't want consumers misled). They do, however, put up a physical impediment against UV, as opposed to "chemical" (aka "organic") sunscreens that tend to absorb UV rays instead. You rarely see titanium dioxide and zinc oxide combined, because each covers the UVA-UVB spectrum so extensively on its own, and because they don't necessarily mix well, sometimes in fact destabilizing other ingredients such as the UVA filter avobenzone when used together. On the other hand, neither titanium dioxide nor zinc oxide is usually used on its own — they are usually combined with other UVA and UVB filters.

There's no reason not to use powdered sunscreen on the face, as long as you use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher (30 or higher for extended outdoor use), apply it properly and sufficiently, and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or heavy sweating -- just as with other types of sunscreen.

Remember, sunscreen is just one vital part of a complete sun protection program, which should also include shade and sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
millicentbash replied to Ritu Saini, MD's response:
Hi there,

I found a lotion that has both zinc and titanium in it. And it's a generic so it is reasonably priced. It is the CVS brand and it is similar to a product that Eucerin makes. I put it on under make up and it works great. It does whiten my skin a little bit because it is a block but if I rub it in well, it practically disappears. From everything I've read - and asked about earlier on this thread - this is the best kind of combo sun block. Just to be safe, I also use a moisturizer with sunscreen under the sun block if I know I am going to be out in the sun for any length of time. The CVS block is thick but manageable. I don't think I would have the patience to use it on my body at the beach because it takes time to apply it. For on the face it's really a great product.

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