The best way to keep skin safe from damage and looking young is by wearing sun protection daily. At Cope Cosmetic Dermatology, we offer a variety of professional-grade sunscreens to help you keep your skin healthy and vibrant.

What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen, or sunblock, is a topical product that contains active photoprotective ingredients to block, absorb, or scatter UV rays from the sun. It’s the most effective way to prevent photoaging and photodamage, which can contribute to an aged or dull look to the skin or (at its most potent) skin cancer.

UV Spectrum Protection

The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays constantly. There are two different types of UV rays, called UVA and UVB. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and damaging your skin at a cellular level. UVA rays are responsible for aging and tanning. Sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB rays are called “broad-spectrum.” Today, most sunscreens contain protection against both types of UV rays.

Sun Protection Factor

Sunscreens can be more or less effective at blocking sun damage based on their sun protection factor, or SPF. SPF is a measure of how long it would take for UV rays to redden your skin with perfect use versus not using sunscreen at all. So, SPF 45 means it would take 45 times longer for UV rays to burn the skin than normal.

Mineral and Chemical Sunscreens

There are generally two types of sunscreen:

  • Mineral sunscreen works as a physical barrier. It contains minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to shield, block, and scatter UV rays before they reach the skin.
  • Chemical sunscreen works like an absorbent sponge on the skin. It absorbs UV rays using chemical ingredients like avobenzone and octisalate.

Each type of sunscreen is incredibly safe and effective at preventing sun damage when used properly. In general, some people prefer chemical sunscreens because they leave less greasy residue whereas other people experience irritation from chemical sunscreens and must use mineral sunscreens. Many modern sunscreens actually combine both mineral and chemical ingredients. Each type has been thoroughly tested and found effective at preventing sun damage.

What Are the Benefits of Sunscreen?

Sunscreen prevents skin cancer. When skin cells are exposed to UV rays over long periods, they can become damaged and prone to reproducing out of control. The result is a growth that contains cancerous cells that can spread to other areas of the body, most fatally the vital organs.

Additionally, sunscreen can also prevent many signs of aging brought on by sun exposure. Sun damage can cause a weathered, dry, and dull look to the skin, making you look older than you are. By wearing sunscreen daily over a lifetime, you can prevent photoaging and keep your skin youthful.

How Should I Use Sunscreen?

There are two ways you should use sunscreen:

The first is using it daily to prevent photoaging in areas commonly exposed to the sun (hands, neck, face, etc). This should be at least SPF 15 and contain broad-spectrum protection. Chemical sunscreens are often ideal for daily use because they’re more cosmetically elegant, don’t leave greasy residue, and are more wearable underneath makeup.

The second is using it for extended outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, or doing yard work. This should be at least SPF 30, broad-spectrum, and water resistant (if you plan to swim or spend time in the water). You should apply it at least 15-30 minutes before going outside to give it time to bind to your skin. Make sure to also reapply every 2 hours and especially after going in the water.

Make sure to apply sunscreen all over and enlist help from a friend or family member to reach areas like your back and shoulders. And finally, make sure to wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy outside or during the winter months – the sun’s UV rays can still penetrate cloud cover and damage the skin no matter the air temperature.


Dr. Cope can help you achieve a new level of confidence with aesthetic experience and a laid-back approach. To learn more, contact us through our online form or give us a call.

385-273-1007 SCHEDULE


Dr. Austin Cope is a Utah native as well as a highly educated and well-trained cosmetic dermatologist. At Cope Cosmetic Dermatology, our team is here to help you look and feel your best.


How to Maximize Prevention and Repair the Damage

Dr. Cope is the author of Sun Proof: A Practical Guide for Sun-Damaged Skin. How to Maximize Prevention and Repair the Damage. In it, Dr. Cope details easy and accessible steps for improving your skin and reversing the harmful effects of sun exposure. Using the latest and most scientifically-backed studies on sun damage, Dr. Cope has created a guide to achieving healthier, more radiant skin with the best tips, tricks, and tools available.