Basking under the sun can be a good thing, thanks to its free dose of Vitamin D, but it can also be damaging to your skin and life-threatening (think sunburn and skin cancer) when you step out without protection. Enter the skin's invisible shield against the sun: sunscreen. It should always be applied on the whole body daily—not just when you're on the beach or by the pool. Aivee Aguilar-Teo, MD, dermatologist and medical director at The Aivee Institute, schools us on the basics of sunscreen.
What's the minimum SPF protection should we use? Is there a big difference between SPF50 and SPF30?

There's both a big and minute difference between SPF 50 and SPF 30. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is actually a measure of the time allowance the product could give to the wearer before sunburn happens. If your skin naturally burns within 10 minutes, by using a product with SPF of 30, you multiply your protection by 30, prolonging your protection against the sun to 300 minutes (10 minutes x SPF30). SPF 50 is perfect as it protects your skin for about eight hours, and if you had a very early day, re-application is easy.
According to Dr. Aivee, oral sunscreen can be considered by those who don’t like the feel of topical sunscreen. Plus, topical sunblock can be washed off by water, sweat, and other external factors, so it’s best to double the protection by taking oral SPF like Heliocare's Ultra Oral Gel Capsules (at dermatological clinics).

PHOTOS: Flickr; Mike Dee

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