Friday, June 1, 2018

8 Ways to Protect Your Skin This Summer

Soaking up the summer sun may feel great, but it’s not great for your skin. Too much sun can cause signs of premature aging like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, and the bulk of sun damage occurs during the summer months when people are more likely to be outdoors.

Worst of all, sun damage can lead to skin cancer, the most common type of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, skin melanoma cases have risen 1.4 percent each year for the past 10 years.

Luckily, many forms of skin cancer are preventable with proper sun protection. You can still enjoy time outdoors during the summer, but be smart about taking care of your skin by following these tips.

How to Protect Your Skin This Summer

1.     Wear Sunscreen with SPF 30 or Higher Every Single Day (Even If It’s Cloudy)

Sun damage is cumulative. Short exposures to the sun (like dashing into the grocery store or driving to work) can add up over time. In fact, UV rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes. That’s why it’s so important to wear sunscreen every day!

Unfortunately, very few people do actually use sunscreen daily. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 14 percent of men and 30 percent of women regularly wear sunscreen.

The trick to preventing everyday sun damage? Get into the habit of applying sunscreen as part of your morning routine. Applying sunscreen once in the morning should provide adequate protection for daily sun exposure. However, if you expect to be in the sun for an extended period of time (like if you’re going to the beach), you’ll want to do some additional work to protect your skin.

2. Choose the Right Sunscreen

Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays contribute to signs of aging, while both UVA and UVB rays contribute to the development of skin cancer.

Make sure to also check the expiration date on your sunscreen – it loses its efficacy after three years.

3. Use the Right Application Technique

When it comes to sunscreen, more is more. You need one ounce of sunscreen to properly cover your entire body – that’s about a whole shot glass! If you prefer spray sunscreen, hold the bottle two inches away from skin when applying. After spraying, rub in the sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside to give the product a chance to sink into your skin. Reapply every two hours – more often if you’re swimming or working up a sweat.

4. Avoid the Most Powerful UV Rays

Avoid going outside between 10am and 2pm, when the sun’s rays are at their most powerful. If you plan on being outdoors during this time, seek shade, reapply sunscreen often, and sport a wide-brimmed hat.

5. Don’t Forget Your Eyes and Lips

UV rays can also damage the eyes and lips. Wear dark-colored sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection to prevent against cataracts and crow’s feet.

Lips are one of the most common sites for skin cancer, so wear a lip balm with SPF and reapply every two hours.

6. Watch Out for Sensitizing Medication

Some medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun. Common examples include Benadryl, ibuprofen, certain antibiotics, antidepressants, and some diabetic medications. Check with your pharmacist to find out if your medications could be causing sun damage.

7. Wear Protective Clothing

Look for clothing items with a UPF of 50 or higher. These items are made with fabric that’s been treated to block UV rays from reaching the skin. For comparison, a regular white t-shirt has a UPF of 4.

You don’t need to buy specially-treated clothes to protect your skin, however. Dark and tightly woven fabrics (think denim) are also able to effectively block sun rays from reaching the skin.

8. An Extra Layer of Defense

Exposure to UV rays leads to the formation of damaging free radicals, which contribute to signs of premature aging like fine lines and wrinkles. Add an extra layer of protection by wearing a vitamin C serum beneath sunscreen. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, which has the added benefit of brightening the skin.

How will you protect your skin this summer? Let us know in the comments!

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