It’s officially springtime, which means warm weather and sunshine are on their way! There’s so many activities to enjoy under the sun, but don’t forget to keep your skin safe and beautiful during the sunny season.
Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation primarily comes from sunlight, but can also come from tanning beds. According to the American Cancer Society, people who get a large amount of UV exposure are at a greater risk for skin cancer. UV Rays are the main cause of skin damage.
There are 3 levels of UV Rays:
Causes aging, brown spots, and wrinkles.
Used in tanning beds.
Penetrates clouds and windows.
Causes most sunburns.
Linked to skin cancer.
Damages the DNA in your skin cells.
Can burn unprotected skin in 15 minutes.
Does not reach the earth’s surface.
Formerly used in tanning beds.
Can be produced by welding torches and mercury lamps.
There is no such thing as safe UV rays. Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can still penetrate your skin. UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, and are also stronger during the spring and summer. It’s important to wear sunscreen every day to prevent skin damage.
When choosing a sunscreen, it’s important to consider the Sun Protection Factor or SPF. SPF is the theoretical amount of time you can spend in the sun without getting burnt. An SPF 30 means that you could stay in the sun 30 times longer than you could if you were unprotected. If you would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, a sunscreen with SPF 30 would allow you to stay in the sun for 300 minutes before burning.
Sunscreen should be applied liberally to skin, or about a golf ball size amount of product each application to the whole body. It should also be reapplied after two hours, regardless of the SPF. A 2013 study showed that individuals who wore sunscreen every day slowed or prevented the development of wrinkles and sagging skin.
There are two primary kinds of sunscreen. Synthetic or chemical sunscreens use a combination of ingredients to absorb the sun’s rays. Mineral sunscreens use active mineral ingredients to reflect the sun’s rays. Which one is right for you? It depends on your skin and your needs.
Reflects UVA rays away from skin — often labeled as sunblock.
Great for dry, sensitive and rosacea-prone skin.
Works in water.
Begins working immediately.
Contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Changes UVA rays into a harmless heat shield.
Rubs into skin easily.
Great for oily and breakout-prone skin.
Needs approximately 20 minutes to sink into skin.
Contains avobenzone, ecamsule, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.
Myth 1: You can’t get sun damage on cloudy days.
Reality: 80% of the suns harmful UV rays can still penetrate your skin through the clouds. Wear sunscreen every day, even if it’s overcast.
Myth 2: Using sunscreen causes a vitamin D deficiency.
Reality: Both the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation report that people can get enough vitamin D through multivitamins, foods (such as milk and fortified orange juice), and everyday sun exposure. Even wearing sunscreen still allows some UV rays to penetrate the skin, which is enough for the body to produce adequate vitamin D.
Myth 3: A good base tan prevents skin cancer.
Reality: Any tan indicates damage to the skin. Studies have shown tan skin to only offer an SPF of 3 or less, even less if the tan came from a tanning lamp or bed. A tan doesn’t fool the sun — it only increase the risk of sun damage.
Myth 4: A beach umbrella blocks UV rays.
Reality: While a beach umbrella provides shade and can block some UV rays, sand reflects up to 17% of UV radiation which can still reach you. Sunscreen is still important even in the shade.
Wear sunscreen every day and keep your skin safe this spring and summer! Enjoy the sunshine!