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Summer is right around the corner. In some places, it might even feel like summer already.
As we get ready to have fun in the sun in the Sunshine State, remember to protect your pale skin!
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Which explains why more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined.
Don’t become a statistic. Protect your skin this summer with these five tips.
1. Know Your Rays
Skin cancer is caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There are two types of UV radiation.
There’s ultraviolet A (UVA) which can pass through glass like your car windows. This kind of radiation can cause premature aging such as wrinkles on the skin. UVA can also play a role in basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
The second kind of UV radiation is Ultraviolet B (UVB) which cannot pass through your car window or other types of glass, but it is more closely linked to skin cancer and melanoma than UVA. UVB is the radiation that causes sunburn.
You want to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB radiation.
2. Wear Sunscreen Properly to Best Protect Your Skin
This may seem pretty obvious, but it’s worth repeating. It’s also important to understand what kind of sunscreen to use and how often to apply it and when.
Sun damage builds over time, so it’s important to wear sunscreen every single day, even when it’s overcast or cloudy. You should wear sunscreen year round, no matter the season, whenever you’re outside.
When picking out a sunscreen, look for a broad-spectrum that protects against UVA and UVB radiation. You also want a sunscreen that’s water resistant with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Even an SPF of 5 (which is better than no SPF at all) when it’s applied daily reduces your lifetime sun exposure by 50 percent by the time you’re 70.
Be aware that some sunscreen may claim to help prevent sunburn, but won’t protect against skin cancer. Also, make sure your sunscreen hasn’t expired. Expired sunscreens are less effective.
In addition to a sunscreen for your face and body, also invest in a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF of 30 or higher. Ever notice that your lips get chapped when you’re in the sun for too long? That’s why.
You also want to apply at least one once (that’s enough to fill a shot glass) of sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours, and reply every hour if you’re swimming or sweating.
If you have dry skin or are treating rosacea and redness, you might want to look for a sunscreen that’s a cream. You can also apply rosacea treatment cream to directly focus on treating the symptoms of rosacea. Use an SPF gel for the scalp or other hairy areas.
Sunscreen is honestly the best anti-aging product out there, especially when combined with retinol or retinoid products at night.
At the least, choose a moisturizer with SPF, but don’t rely on the SPF of your powder foundation to protect your skin. It’s rare that make-up provides the sun protection as advertised.
Instead of make-up with SPF, try a tinted SPF and make sure it says “broad spectrum, which means it protects your skin from aging and cancer-causing UVA rays.
For a little sun protection boost, try a vitamin C serum after cleansing, in addition to your 30 or high SPF.
3. Cover it Up
In addition to SPF, there are other things you can do to help protect your skin from the sun. A white tee shirt, for example, gives your body and SPF for about 5.
Try to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat that covers the face neck and ears. Dark clothing with tightly woven fabric blocks more sun than white or loosely woven fabric.
You can also look for clothes that are made out of sun-protective materials. This is key if you live on the golf or tennis courts, look into sun-protective sportswear. A hat also goes a long way. Keep one in your car or bag so you always have one with you.
Sunglasses don’t only look good, they also protect your eyes from sun damage. Look for shades with 99% to 100% UV absorption.
The bigger the frames the more protection you get from that delicate skin around your eyes. No crows feet for you.
4. Stay Out of the Sun
Limit your sun exposure by knowing the sun’s rays are the most intense between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. To remember this, practice the shadow rule. If your shadow is shorter than you, it’s time to find shade.
If you have babies younger than six months old, keep them completely covered and in the shade.
You also can pay attention to the UV index, which is the numbered scale that measures damaging exposure from the sun each day. You can find the UV index in weather reports. If the UV index is a 10 or higher, stay indoors as much as possible.
Also be careful around reflective surfaces like water and sand that can reflect damaging rays and increase your risk of getting sunburned. Even snow on the slopes on a sunny day can give your exposed skin sun damage.
Also, avoid sunbathing as much as possible. This includes sunlamps, tanning beds, and tanning salons. The safest way to sunbathe is getting a fake airbrush tan.
5. Check Your Medication
Know that medication can have side effects to the sun. Some meds may make you more sensitive to the sun and make possible sun damage worse.
These medications tend to be specific antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, blood pressure medications, and some types of chemotherapy.
Have Fun in the Sun (Responsibly)
Now that you know how to protect your skin this summer, go soak up the sun responsibly. Remember the difference between UVA and UVB, be sure to always wear an SPF for at least 30 or higher, and cover up your body as much as possible.
Know when the rays are the strongest, and try to stay out of direct sunlight during that time as much as possible. If you’re on medication, be sure what you’re taking doesn’t make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
If you follow these tips, your skin will be safe. For more summer tips and tricks, check out our blog.