Hopefully you know how to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, so I will try & keep this post brief, like an overview, just to remind you of the Sun Safe practices you hopefully follow every day, but especially during your upcoming outdoor summer activities!
First, let’s quickly review why you need to protect your skin from the sun! UV rays are harmful to skin because they:
*Damage skin cell DNA which can cause mutations that potentially lead to skin cancer
*Cause the skin to overproduce melanin to protect itself. While in youth people find this “healthy glow” ideal, this later leads to age spots and uneven skin tone
*Breakdown collagen & elastin, which are what keep skin soft, smooth, firm & supported. Too much UV exposure leads to premature skin aging including rough skin texture, volume loss, wrinkles, fine lines, etc.
*Continue to affect skin even hours after the original exposure! (Read More: “Why does sun damage to DNA continue hours after exposure?” )
Review of Sun Safe Practices:
*Wear broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ every day.
*Use 1 ounce (= a shot glass full) of sunscreen per application. This is the recommended amount to keep skin protected. Applying it in two layers may help it to blend in better & have better coverage.
*Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when spending the day outside. Reapply anytime after toweling off, being in water, or sweating heavily.
*Try to stay in the shade as much as possible
*Avoid too much time outdoors between 10AM – 2 PM, when the UV exposure is at its peak
*Wear sun-protective clothing (long sleeves, hats, sunglasses, clothing with a UPF rating, etc)
*Avoid tanning beds. The UV rays in tanning beds are just as damaging to your skin. In fact, the World Health Organization has classified indoor tanning devices as Class I human carcinogens.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Medications? Anti-Aging Regimen?
Many anti-aging or acne products, some medications, and peels or other cosmetic procedures may increase your skin’s sensitivity to skin. Please read any & all advisory notes on your products/medications to see if this applies to you and be especially diligent with sun protection. Also, be aware that UV exposure may counteract the benefits some of the ingredients in anti-aging products. If you’re trying to increase your collagen or even out your skin tone, UV rays will do the OPPPOSITE to your skin, so be Sun Safe for this reason too!
For More Information:
American Academy of Dermatology: Prevent Skin Cancer
The Surgeon General’s Call to Prevent Skin Cancer (PDF)