As we enter the heart of summer, we’ll be more and more tempted to get out in the sun and soak up some vitamin D. But too much sun exposure puts you not only at risk for a sunburn, but also eye damage and even skin cancer. That’s why it’s important to take certain measures to protect your skin this summer season.
How to Stay Sun-Safe
Below are some easy tips for keeping your skin healthy and youthful.
- Hang out in the shade. You should always try to limit your exposure to direct sun, and this is especially true between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest.
- Cover your skin. If you do spend time in direct sun, wear clothing as long as you can comfortably wear in the heat and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face. Invest in a pair of sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
- Use good sunscreen. Every two hours, apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply after swimming or sweating. See more on sunscreen guidelines below.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. While they might help you achieve a summer glow, they cause serious long-term damage and are major contributors to skin cancer.
Choose the Right Sunscreen
Ideally, you should use sunscreen every day, but it’s especially important in summer months when the days are longer and the sun is stronger. Make sure you read the label carefully before buying sunscreen, and look for the following…
- Broad-spectrum protection. All sunscreens protect against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. But only broad-spectrum sunscreens also protect against UVA rays, which contribute to skin cancer and premature aging.
- SPF 30+. SPF refers to the level of protection against UVB rays. While higher numbers mean more protection, the higher the number, the smaller the difference becomes. For example, SPF 15 filters 93% of UVB rays; SPF 30 filters 97%; SPF 50 filters 98%; and SPF 100 filters 99%. No sunscreen protects you completely.
- Water-resistant. If you plan to run in the sprinkler, take a dip in the pool or even just get sweaty, you should wear water-resistant sunscreen. Keep in mind water-resistant does not equal waterproof – and sunscreen should still be reapplied after getting wet or drying off with a towel.
- Expiration date. Sunscreen can expire, and while it won’t make you sick like expired food, it will lose its effectiveness. Typically, sunscreen expires after two to three years, but may expire sooner if stored somewhere hot.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the experts at Texas ENT & Allergy.