SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – When the sun is out in full force it can give you a healthy dose of Vitamin D, but it can also sear your skin if you don’t protect it.

Types of Sunscreen

Dermatologist Dr. Amy Lynne Frankel, with Advanced Dermatology in Spartanburg, said there are two types of skin protection: physical and chemical.

“The physical blockers are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and they are basically crushed particles that go on your skin and act almost like a film that protects you from the sun by being a physical barrier. They block the sun from actually getting into your skin,” Dr. Frankel explained.

“Chemical blockers, which are chemical compounds that are ground down into nanoparticles. They go on your skin, and when the sun’s rays hit them, they convert that energy into heat so its dissipated so you don’t absorb it in your skin,” she explained.

Since the physical blockers keep all of the sun’s harmful rays out, Dr. Frankel said it is the best bet.


Dr. Frankel said higher SPF is best, but reapplication is key.

“If you’re going to put it on only once, get that [SPF] 100,” Dr. Frankel said. “If you’re going to do it like you’re supposed to and put it on every 40 to 80 minutes then [SPF] 30 is just fine. But nobody is doing that. With the sprays, you really have to use a lot. And that’s where people go wrong. So they spray for like 2 of 3 seconds and that’s the equivalent of maybe an SPF of 10 or 12.”

Don’t forget you have to remember to rub the sunscreen in so it forms a layer of protection. This even applies to the spray sunscreens.

When to Wear

On a bright, sunny summer day, it’s pretty obvious you better have the sunscreen on before you leave the house.

When clouds are around, some of the sun’s energy is reflected back to Space by the cloud, some of it is absorbed into the cloud, and the rest is transmitted to the ground and right onto your skin. That’s when you face the danger of a sunburn and skin cancer.

Children’s skin is particularly vulnerable to future harm, Dr. Frankel said.

“We are actually seeing an uptick in skin cancers diagnosed in younger people, so 20s and 30s. That’s all damage they did when they were kids,” she explained. “So as a parent, you’ve got the ability to change their sun habits when they’re young. You can also prevent melanoma by preventing those blistering sunburns early on because that’s what’s causing the melanomas.”

Dr. Frankel said SPF clothing, or sun shirts, are an excellent choice, and yearly skin checkups can help catch any potential problems early.


Sunscreen causes skin cancer – Not true. The chemicals in sunscreen are in such small amounts that no one would be able to use so much of it in their lifetime to cause problems.

Sunscreen is waterproof – Not true. It always needs to be reapplied as indicated on the container.

Base tans are safe – Not true. Getting an initial burn on purpose can damage your skin and put you on the road to melanoma concerns.

Suspicious spots?

Here’s what you should look for if you have a suspicious spot on your skin:

  • Asymmetry
  • Border
  • Color
  • Diameter
  • Evolving
  • “U” – Ugly Duckling