Warm weather, beaches, and sunshine! Vacation is almost here! While you're planning for your trip, be sure to think about protecting your skin by wearing sunscreen. It is the first line of defense for your skin, and it doesn’t matter if the sun is shining or peeking out behind the clouds. You need it every day!
Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before you go outside. Not only should you apply it to your face, but also to any exposed skin on your body. And don’t forget the lip balm!
Slather up! Sunscreen should not be used in moderation. You will need an ounce of sunscreen to cover your body. To put it in perspective, that’s about the same amount of liquid as you put in a shot glass.
Your sunscreen should be broad-spectrum, blocking out both UVA and UVB radiation. Make sure it is at least 30 SPF and is waterproof. If the sunscreen you use is lacking in UVA and UVB protection, you might not get sunburned, but you aren’t protected from skin cancer.
Sunscreen isn’t a “one and done” skin shield. You will need to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. If you are in the water or active and sweating, that time between applications goes down to one hour.
Sunscreen with a higher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better to use. Often, when people use a higher SPF, such as 50, they get a false sense of security. This leads to them not reapplying when it is needed.
There are a few circumstances where you will need to be extra vigilant.
If you’re taking medications such as antibiotics, chemotherapies, or anti-inflammatories, you may have an increased sensitivity to the sun. Be sure to check with your doctor for specific recommendations to ensure your skin is protected.
If you are around sand or water you may burn more quickly. Both sand and water have reflective properties which intensify the sun’s rays. In this case, it will be important to ensure you are reapplying more frequently or even taking a break from the sun.
While sunscreen is an important part of your skin protection plan, there are other items that will also help. If your sunglasses have UV protection, they can defend your eyes. Look for ones with a UV 400 rating or “100% UV protection” on the label. Wide-brimmed hats will not only protect your scalp, face, and neck, they also protect your hair from damage. There is even clothing and swimwear designed to help you protect your skin.
No matter how you choose to battle the sun’s rays, it’s important to do it every single day. And like the lyrics to “Everybody’s Free” state, “Trust me on the sunscreen!”