Summertime is the perfect time for trips to the beach, outdoor barbecues and lounging outside with friends. All of these activities have one thing in common: lots of sun exposure. Being outside in the sun can be great for mental health, getting some vitamin D, or achieving the perfect tan. However, unprotected skin in strong UV rays can result in serious damage. Luckily, protecting your skin from the sun is very simple and has great benefits…and sun protection is easy!
Benefits of Sunscreen
There are several benefits to using sunscreen to protect the skin on your face and body. The most obvious is to prevent sunburn. Sunburns can range from mild irritation to very severe and painful blisters. Either way, sunburns are very damaging to your skin and can cause lots of discomfort.
Sunscreen is good for more than just protecting against painful sunburn. Sunscreen is also a great way to help prevent skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 20% of Americans will develop skin cancer before the age of 70. The most important benefit of sunscreen use is the prevention and protection against harmful UV rays that cause skin diseases and cancers, such as melanoma. Use sunscreen to keep your skin healthy and protected while you enjoy some fun in the sun.
In addition to protecting your skin from sunburn and skin cancer, sunscreen also helps balance your skin tone and helps protect important chemicals in your skin, such a keratin.
Types of Sunscreen
Now that you have decided to use sunscreen, what kind should you use? There are several different kinds of sunscreen to use depending on the activities you are doing and the amount of sun exposure you are receiving. When you aren’t spending large amounts of time outside, sunscreens that are built into moisturizers and makeup can easily do the trick. Some foundations and powders have built in sun protection. If you don’t use makeup (or the brand you prefer doesn’t have sun protection), consider a daily moisturizer. Many contain sunscreen and will indicate on the bottle the amount of SPF (sun protection factor) they have. These methods of sun protection for your face and neck are very simple, as they don’t add any additional steps to your daily routine.
When you are planning to spend long hours outside, a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a higher SPF is needed. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect from both UVB and UVA rays, which contribute to sunburn and skin cancer. The recommended SPF for adequate protection against these rays is 30 SPF.
If you’re planning to get wet while you’re out in the sun, including days at the the pool, lake, or beach, waterproof sunscreen is a must-have. Waterproof sunscreens are also great for people who are very active and will be sweating. When buying waterproof sunscreen, be sure to check that it is water resistant for at least 40-80 minutes.
There are some sensitive areas on the body that you may forget to protect from the sun, such as the top of your ears, the part in your hair, your eyelids, and your lips. Some of these areas you can get with normal sunscreen, but to protect your lips, there are actually special lip balms that contain SPF. These can also help prevent your lips from drying out, and are very convenient to take along with you wherever you go.
Additional Protective Measures
The clothing you wear can also help fend off harmful rays. There are even fabrics constructed with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating! And if you aren’t in the market for new UPF clothing, consider your own closet. Look for tightly woven fabrics – they do a better job of protecting your skin than looser weaves. Additionally, synthetic fabrics like polyester and Lycra protect from damaging rays.
As you’re perusing your closet, don’t forget to grab a hat! The wider the brim, the better. A hat is one of the most protective items of clothing you probably already own.
Protect Your Eyes
Your skin isn’t the only thing in harm’s way: your eyes can also burn. Sun damage to your eyes can cause long-term problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Plan to wear sunglasses with a UV 400 protection to protect your eyes and improve visibility in bright light.
If you have already been affected negatively by the sun, make sure to stock up on some aloe to help heal and soothe your skin. You can also purchase aloe that contains SPF for healing with added protection.
Whether you are out on the boat, having an afternoon picnic, or enjoying your morning coffee on the deck, make sure you are protecting your skin from the sun. Stop by the store (or order online) to get the perfect sunscreen that you can add into your routine to keep your skin happy and healthy!