Protecting your skin from the harmful UVA/UVB sunrays is of utmost importance. Wearing daily sunscreen will help to lessen your chances of skin cancer, while keeping your skin looking younger and healthy. As children, we all remember our parents lecturing us on the importance of wearing the correct form of protection. They would make us get out of the pool every 30 minutes or so and lather us up. This was quite the annoying process, but in the end, we can all agree we are thankful to our parents for keeping up with saving our skin.
Why is Year Round Protection so Important?
The simple explanation is, the sun does not only rise on the summer days you go to the beach or pool. It is up there year round, only giving us a break when the moon takes its place. You run errands most days, go to work, grab a quick bite to eat out, and take your kids to school. That is a lot of time spent out in the sun. As Discovery Fit and Health states, this goes for wintertime, as well. Cold outdoor temperatures do not mean you are free from sunburn or sun damage. Simple things such as covering up, wearing hats that cover your face, and wear sunglasses are great ways to keep from frying in the sun. Use sunblock as well to further protect your skin.
What are UVA/UVB Rays?
UVA and UVB rays are the ultraviolet rays the sun produces that give us everything from a bronzy glow to a painful sunburn. Skincancer.org explains UVA rays have a higher occurrence than UVB and penetrate the skin deeper. This is important to note as UVA rays are prevalent not only when the sky is clear, but also when it is a cloudy day. These rays are persistent at breaking through whatever they can. UVB rays are the cause of skin redness and sunburns, but these rays are not as prevalent throughout the day and have peak times. Knowing these facts about the sun’s energy shows you how important sun protection is. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen to guard your skin and keep it healthy.
The American Academy of Dermatology discusses the importance of broad-spectrum protection. These protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. If a label states it is a broad-spectrum formula, then it has passed the FDA’s guidelines. Keep this on hand to use when going out year round.
Often times, we fortify ourselves against the sun and forget about continually doing so throughout the day. Many think just one application will protect them all day when in reality you should apply protection every two hours. Remember, if it is hot outside you are sweating and this causes the product to break down. If you are swimming, you may need to apply it more frequently as being in water constantly will cause it to wash off slowly.
Mineral Based vs. Chemical Based
The idea of slathering on chemically enhanced sunscreen seems a little counterproductive when trying to keep your skin and you healthy. Many chemicals included in FDA approved protection have impacts on hormone levels, which can put certain individuals at higher risk for cancer. Ironically, these lotions and creams also carry chemicals that can heighten the risk of skin cancer or cause skin allergies. While these cases are rare, the Environmental Working Group is staying connected to research on these claims. Mineral based skin safeguards keep these harmful chemicals out and only use necessary, non-harmful substances. These are not only helpful for a person’s health but a help to the environment. Most mineral based products are also safe for use on infants, though it is wise to check the label and talk with your pediatrician before using anything on your child. When seeking healthy alternatives, one item to keep in mind is how the product is tested. There are no promises that chemical based products are not tested on animals, but many mineral based items can truly claim they are cruelty free.
Throughout your research on keeping your skin protected and healthy, you have come across many sites urging you to stay covered up as a way to cut down on product usage. While this is a helpful tip to remember, it is also a difficult task to maintain. You may start the day our wearing long sleeves, a jacket, or a hat, but these clothing items get hot in the sun. Wearing sunscreen, even while covered up, is a good plan for when you take off your jacket or hat due to overheating or simply wanting to be comfortable. Keep back-up tubes with you for occurrences like this.
How to Apply Protection
The obvious skin locations to protect are your face and arms, but you should not forget about all other areas of your body. You will also need to apply sunscreen to your neck, ears, back, hands, legs, and feet. You have taken care to cover all locations on your body, but are you using the proper amount? Read the instructions on the label and diligently use the recommend quantity. According to About.com, many people only apply about 25%-50% of recommended amounts. Be sure to apply it generously and to apply it approximately 20-30 minutes prior to outdoor exposure as it takes that amount of time for it to seep into your skin adequately. Remember to take care of your body!