We’ve all been there: spending a perfect day at the beach, sporting your new bathing suit, enjoying the sand and sea, and ending the day with your skin looking like a lobster. Yikes!
Overexposure to the sun could ruin your day, your vacation, or even worse, your overall health. Sun poisoning, skin damage and skin cancer are very real threats, even if they may be years down the road. Having a strategy for catching some shade from harmful ultraviolet rays is important.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, these are some prevention guidelines for protecting yourself from the harmful effects of the sun.
• Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Don’t get sunburned.
• Avoid tanning, and never use UV tanning beds.
• Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
• Anyone over the age of six months should use sunscreen. Children younger shouldn’t be exposed to the sun since their skin is highly sensitive to the sun’s rays and chemicals in sunscreen.
• Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
• Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Re-apply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
• Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
• See a dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin exam.
Why Sunscreen? And What is SPF?
We know sunscreen helps to prevent sunburn, right? But, how do you determine which sunscreen to get?
Let’s break it down! UVB rays are the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging and other light-induced effects of aging. Here’s how it works, as explained by The Skin Cancer Foundation.
• If it takes 20-minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer — about five hours. The factor of SPF is the multiplier that extends the time it takes to redden the skin.
• Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97% and SPF 50 keeps out 98%. They may seem like small differences, but if you are light sensitive, or have a history of skin cancer, those extra percentages will make a difference.
• As you can see, no sunscreen can block all UV rays.
• The effectiveness of sunscreen shouldn’t be expected to last more than two hours, especially if you’re sweating or swimming. Re-application needs to be done if you don’t want to get burned.
Keep your skin protected with a fabulous hat, movie star sunglasses and glisten from the shine of sunscreen. Who said sun protection can’t be stylish?