Sunscreen 101: Why You Need It, How Often to Reapply It, and More Tips From MDs

Even if you know barely anything at all about skincare, chances are you’re still aware that the most essential ingredient to maintain healthy skin is SPF. After all, sun exposure is the most common cause of skin damage. In addition to harmful free radicals, sunlight also emits UVA and UVB rays. While these two forms of rays work differently (UVA reaches more deeply into the skin to damage and age it, while UVB causes sunburns), they both can cause skin cancer.

Although many experts are well-equipped to discuss the risks of sun exposure — and sing the praises of a solid SPF — we’d argue that residents of certain states have more hands-on experience than others. Here, board-certified dermatologists Karan Sra, MDLoretta Ciraldo, MD, and Sarah Jackson, MD (who practice in Houston, Texas, Aventura, Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana, respectively), and board-certified, Miami, Florida-based plastic surgeon Jose Rodríguez-Feliz, MD, share the unique tips and tricks they swear by to help keep their patients’ skin safe. Keep reading to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the difference between regular and “sport” sunscreens, tips for reapplication, sun protective clothing, and more.