“Yikes! Where did these lines come from? And, is that a dark patch on my cheek? But I wear sunscreen!” But, do you wear enough, reapply often and wear it all year around?
The sad truth is any amount of tanning, indoors or out, will damage the skin and cause premature aging and possible health problems. But, we can take steps to minimize sun damage by following these Five Simple Sunscreen Rules.
1.) Look for “Full-Spectrum” or “Broad Spectrum” Sunscreen Protection. This is extremely important as you need to protect yourself from the sun’s two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays known as UVA and UVB wavelengths. UVA is the long-wavelength that penetrates to the deepest layers of the skin and causes skin damage such as wrinkles and dark spots, over time. It also causes melanoma. UVB is shorter wavelengths of light that penetrate to the surface of the skin and is the cause of sunburn. Sunburn doesn’t just feel awful but it can cause permanent skin damage overtime. These two forms of light are not dependent on air temperature or if the sun is shining. You can get sunburn in the snow or on a cloudy day, if you’re not properly protected.
2.) Look for an SPF of 15 to 50. The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) will tell you how well the sunscreen blocks UVB rays and for approximately how long. Experts agree that you need a minimum of SPF 15 but no more than 50 for protection. An SPF higher than 50 only provides a minimum more of protection and may not be worth the added cost. The ideal seems to be an SPF of 30. But, as always, it depends on your skin type.
3.) Apply Sunscreen Liberally and Frequently.
20 minutes before before going outside into the sun, disrobe and apply your sunscreen all over your body. Don't forget your ears, the back of your neck, underarms and top of your feet. Use lots of sunscreen. Don't skimp! Apply using a circular motion so you won’t miss any spots. Contrary to what you may have heard, about 2 ounces or a shot glass full, is only enough for your face, neck and the back of your hands. So, slather it on! Finally, apply a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher.
4.) Reapply! Reapply! Reapply! When you’re out in the sun anytime of the year, you need to reapply your sunscreen at least every 90 minutes or less. If you go in the water or are perspiring, reapply sooner. Use a water-resistant sunscreen in these cases but remember you still have to reapply often. They are not waterproof, only resistant. Reapply your lip balm often, too.
5.) Limit Sun Exposure. Seek shade. Wear a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves and long pants. Avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm. And, remember, to protect yourself while driving. UVA rays penetrate glass and will burn.
If you follow these Five Simple Sunscreen Rules, you’ll really help your skin stay healthy and younger looking longer.