Being Sun Smart: Tips to Protect Your Skin This Summer
From premature aging of the skin, to sunburns that can ruin your beach trip, we all know that too much sunlight is bad news. Skin protection is important year-round, but sunscreen should definitely be at the top of your grocery list during the spring and summer months when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Taking these precautions will keep your skin protected while you enjoy all the outdoor activities these seasons have to offer.
- Choose the Right Sunscreen– Read your labels! Be sure to buy SPF 30 or higher in order to be fully protected. Don’t let your desire for a tan put your skin at risk by using anything lower. You’ll also want to make sure your sunscreen has broad-spectrum protection that blocks both harmful UVA and UVB rays. If you plan on being in the water or are prone to a lot of sweat, make sure your sunscreen is water-resistant. The FDA suggests not using any sunscreens that are over three years old, so always check your bottle’s expiration date.
- Applying Your Sunscreen Correctly– Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun. This allows your skin to fully absorb the lotion and makes it less likely to wash off when you sweat or get in the water. With that said, it never hurts to reapply after a swim or any excessive sweating. Be sure to shake your bottle well and apply the lotion thoroughly to all parts of the skin including your face, ears, back of the knees, and feet. If you’re outside all day, keep applying!
- Wear Protective Clothing– Covering up with protective clothing is the most effective way to block the sun’s rays from the majority of your body. Finding sun protective clothing is much easier these days, so you can remain fashionable while also staying safe. Use UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and a wide-brimmed or floppy hat to shield your face and ears.
- Limit Your Time in the Sun Between the Hours of 10 AM and 4 PM– The sun’s rays are strongest during these hours. Try to be in the shade or plan your activities around this period. Umbrellas and indoor breaks are always a good idea when you plan to spend an entire day outdoors.
Everyone hates a painful sunburn, but many people don’t consider the more dangerous effects the sun can have on the skin. Overexposure puts your skin at a much higher risk of developing melanoma, the most common and deadliest type of skin cancer. Remember that the sun’s rays are always a threat—even in overcast weather and during the colder months. It helps to use a daily moisturizer with SPF to keep your skin protected, even on days when you might not think sunscreen is necessary. Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S., but it is also the easiest to prevent. All skin types respond to overexposure, so do yourself a favor and make sun protection part of your daily routine.