I know for my family and lots of others being outdoors is an important part of living life and enjoying it, especially in the Summer. The problem is too much sun is not a good thing and outdoor sun safety is definitely a concern. Hopefully these tips can help provide you with the products to keep you safe and some good information in educating you to make sun safe decisions.
We all know how a sunburn happens and what it looks like but do we really know how we get them? Sunburns are flesh burns caused by the ultraviolet radiation of the sun. Our bodies have what is called Melanin pigment which is produced in our cells. The darker you are the more Melanin you have. This pigment is designed to protect our skin which is why someone super fair like myself burns so easily.
Although sunburns can seem to disappear or convert to a tan, the effects of the sun remain in your skin. Over a collected lifetime skin damage can become skin cancer. The sun is responsible for about 90% of all skin cancer cases. The good news? We are all directly accountable for the fate of our skin. We can be responsible and proactive about protecting our skin and the skin of our children.
The biggest way to be responsible is to wear sunscreen.
Great for Kids:
A titanium dioxide or zinc oxide formula: These ingredients are milder compared to most sunscreen chemicals and don’t irritate most sensitive skin children. There are also great tear free options as well.
Best for your Face
Sunscreen for your face you want to be lightweight, especially for women who often wear makeup on top of their sunscreen. Other good face formulas are oil free and often labeled noncomedognic, meaning they don’t clog your pores. A moisturizing sunscreen is also good for double duty. These will protect and nourish your skin.
Overall Great Sunscreen for everyone
An overall great sunscreen would be one that is labeled broad spectrum. Broad spectrum means that this sunscreen will protect from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA is the rays that causes wrinkles, aging, and can lead to sun cancer. UVB causes burns and also can lead to sun cancer. You will also want to look at the SPF number. The SPF number indicates your overall protection amount. If your sunscreen is SPF 30 that means it will take 30 times as long for your skin to burn as it would if you were wearing no sunscreen.
The terms waterproof, sweatproof, and sunblock can no longer be used by sunscreen companies because the FDA has labeled them as giving false sense of security. All sunscreen will wear off eventually.
Also keep in mind that a SPF 50 and a SPF 100 are pretty much one and the same. SPF 100 blocks less than 1% more than SPF 50 so don’t let the sunscreen companies fool you into spending more money.
Being outside isn’t the only time to safeguard your skin. Don’t forget those hidden sun risks.
- Your Commute: Your skin is often exposed in your car.
- Working Indoors: UVA rays come through windows.
- Windy Days: Reapply hourly on windy days. Wind is like water to sunscreen.
– You should use at least 1 oz of sunscreen to cover your exposed areas of your body, more depending on how exposed you plan to be (IE: wearing swimsuits).
– If you are spending time outdoors don’t forget to reapply. Just one application of sunscreen isn’t enough to last you all day.
– Don’t forget to protect the easy to forget places, such as your lips, ears, part in your hair (scalp), back of your neck and the tops of your feet.
– Wear sun protective clothing to help reduce the rays hitting your body.
– Limit your time in direct sunlight whenever possible and plan activities on days that the UV Index is low. The suns rays are most intense during the times of 10am and 2pm and as well in the summer months.
– Avoid tanning booths, they WILL cause skin damage. If you are lucky enough not to get skin cancer from them you will definitely get pre-mature aging.
– Live in a higher altitude? There is less atmosphere to filter out harmful UV rays so you should take extra precautions.
– Regular self examinations are important. Know your body and know if there are any changes in your skin.
Lastly, wearing sunscreen can sometimes feel like a chore. However, being responsible will allow you to enjoy the outdoors and keep your skin healthy. Being sun safe for yourself means you will be a good role model for those around you and reduce your own chances of skin cancer or pre-mature aging.