Summer is upon those of us in the northern hemisphere, which means no school and time to play in the sun. Beach trips, lounging by the pool, and backyard barbecues are all quintessential summer events, all of which place you outside.
Though the sunkissed, bronzed glow that comes from spending your days outdoors is lovely, the sun can actually be quite damaging. Overexposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause premature aging, acne, and even skin cancer.
Mom was not overreacting a bit when she made you slather on fifteen layers of sunblock before even letting you play in the shadel; the sun’s harmful rays are no joke!
What Skincare Do I Need?
When your skin is on the line, it is best to erre to the side of caution and look into the good and bad ideas surrounding suncare. Everyone knows to put on sunscreen before going outside.
If you read the bottle, you will also be tipped off that most brands recommend reapplying every sixty to eighty minutes, especially if you are sweating or are planning to be in or around water.
Though these things are common knowledge, if you keep reading you will find something just as important as the direction panel: the ingredient list. To sum up a study that was conducted on over seventeen hundred sunscreen brands, not all protectants are made equal.
Check for ingredients like zinc, titanium dioxide, avobenzone and Mexoryl SX; these are your friends and are all effective options for sun protection.
Avoid unnecessary additives like insect repellent, oxybenzone and vitamin A, as they are actually harmful to the human body and can cause some serious side effects, including the very type of cancer we are trying to prevent by using sunblock in the first place.
It is important to realize that suncare is not a necessity that is exclusive to the summer months. You should be practicing skin protecting efforts year round, especially if you live near the equator.
Just because you are not in danger of a sunburn in the winter snows does not mean that the sun’s harmful rays cannot reach your skin. Think of it this way: an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
It takes seconds to apply SPF products. Makeup usually even includes it within foundations and powders. Chapstick typically has SPF additives in the ingredient listing, too.
Pick up a sunscreen and stick to it year round, your skin and health will thank you. There are even sunscreens on the market that are meant specifically for use under makeup on the face, which means that you do not have to sacrifice your beauty routine for sun prevention!
Speaking of SPF, do not let yourself be fooled by high numbers on packaging. Just because something claims to be SPF 100 does not mean it is any better than a tube of SPF 30 sunblock.
Dermatologists call anything over SPF 30 unnecessary, as it stops really producing more benefits at around that point.
Sure, you could shell out the bucks for the higher price tag of an SPF 50 product but unless you are using the sunblock a child or have very sensitive skin, you likely will not experience much of a difference.
For comparison, products with an SPF of 15 block around 94% of UVB rays. One would think that SPF 30 products would block double that amount but instead, the difference is minute, as SPF 30 sunscreens block roughly 97% of the same harmful rays.
An SPF of 45 gets you 98% UVB protection. Anything higher will get your just a faction closer to full protection but will cost you a pretty penny more, making it a bit of a frivolous, ridiculous trap to fall into.
A very important “do” is to rely on secondary sun protectants aside from sunblock. Beach hats are fantastic for doubling up on facial and shoulder protection, as they shade your upper body.
Children should wear swim shirts if possible when in the water to protect their delicate skin. Sunglasses will help prevent ocular damage on brighter days while also making your time outside more comfortable.
Umbrellas and sunshades are amazing, too, and can provide relief from the more intensely hot days when summer is in full swing, too. None of these should be used alone, of course.
In tandem with proper sunscreen application, though, they can be quite effective and bolster your chances of escaping sun damage without sacrificing too many gorgeous, sunny days.
It can be tempting to seek out a tanning bed to achieve the bronze goddess look that is oh so trendy during the summer months. Popular in previous decades, the favor of tanning beds has waned in recent times for a host of excellent reasons.
Aside from drastically increasing your risk of skin cancer, tanning regularly can cause skin issues like acne, premature aging, and dryness. If you wish to get the tanned look, consider springing for a spray tan or at home artificial tan.
The industry has come a long way since the bright orange days of Jersey Shore and you can definitely get a natural, healthy looking glow. Body makeup is always an option, as well, as are gradual tanning products that build up color over time with at home application.
It is important to understand that shade does not actually protect you from the harmful rays of the sun. While it can be cooling and help stop you from burning as severely, sunscreen is recommended year round for a reason.
UVA and UVB rays can penetrate through concrete, making a beach umbrella a pretty flimsy and futile sun guardian without the help of a good quality sunblock.
During the winter, the snow can actually reflect over eighty percent of the sun’s rays back into your face as you venture about, increasing the chances of a nasty burn.
Water has the same effect so swimming does not protect you, either. It is imperative to your health that you take the reminders that sunscreen is a necessity seriously; there is no alternative to protect you effectively against the sun and your health is certainly not something you should gamble with.