Sunscreen is certainly key in protecting yourself from sun damage, but there are additional ways to protect yourself. Review the tips below and then read on to learn more about they varying types of sunscreens.
Always Use Protection
Follow these tips to protect your skin and still enjoy the outdoors.
- You need to wear sunscreen every day, no matter where you live. Use one with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. Preferably chose one which contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
- Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed parts of your body and rub in well. You usually need to reapply it every two to three hours. Read the label carefully since “waterproof” may only protect you for 80 minutes.
- When possible wear a hat and clothes that cover arms and legs. Materials with a tight weave provide the maximum protection. Loose-weave clothing lets sun rays reach your skin. Visit our DERMAspa for sun protective hats!
- Try to avoid the sun when the rays are most intense, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- If your shadow is shorter than you are, stay out of the sun.
- Overcast or cloudy days do not give any protection from the sun’s rays.
- If you are taking medication, check with your doctor to see if sun exposure can cause side effects.
- Be careful when you are around reflective surfaces like snow, water or even sand. They give you a double dose of the sun’s power.
- Avoid tanning salons. UV-light exposure that causes tanning does injure your skin. Long-term exposure increases your risk of developing skin cancer. The UVA rays in tanning beds actually penetrate and damage your skin more deeply than the sun.
Sun: BAD- Sunscreen: GOOD
Not convinced? Well, sun exposure is also the major cause of skin cancer, a disease that has become epidemic. More than a million people suffer from skin cancer each year. Melanoma, the most threatening form of skin cancer, claims almost 8,000 lives annually (American Cancer Society). Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for people in their late 20s.
All Sunscreens Are Not Created Equal
The best cure for sun damage is to prevent it. Potent sunscreens now allow you to enjoy the outdoors while protecting you from the sun. Sunscreens use two main types of ingredients: Physical and chemical blockers. The physical blockers are fine particles of metal, most often zinc or titanium, that put a thin reflective coating on the skin. The chemical blockers absorb the sun’s rays.
Because the physical blockers are effective against both wave lengths of ultraviolet light and because they stop the sun’s rays from even reaching the skin, they are my preference. Your sunscreen should contain either zinc or titanium or both.
- When shopping for sunscreens look at the chemical blockers. Cinnamates (octyl methoxcinnamate and cinoxate) are commonly used chemical UVB blockers added to cosmetics. You can sometimes find chemical UVA blockers called Benzophenones (oxybenzone and dioxybenzone) added to make-up. Look also for Parsol 1789 and Mexoryl, potent UVA blockers.
- Use no less than SPF 30, and make certain the label says it blocks out both UVB and UVA rays. Wear sunscreen everyday (even on cloudy days) and put it on evenly. You want to protect your skin from the sun exposure it gets even from walking out to your car.
- You need at least an ounce of sunscreen to cover your whole body. With intense sun exposure, reapply sunscreen every couple of hours, especially if your skin gets wet.