While lounging about in the sun may feel wonderful, the harmful UV rays that come from the sun are doing not-so-wonderful things to our fragile skin. UV rays not only destroy the collagen in our skin, giving us wrinkles, dry patches, and generally accelerating the aging process, they can also (and more seriously) give us skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. According to cancer.org, Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 75,000 cases of skin cancer in 2012.
So, what are the things we can do to help protect our skin during the summer, and make sure we don’t become another sad statistic? We’ve put together a list of 10 important sun-care tips to do just that.
You’ve heard it before – sunscreen is a must. When you go out to buy sunscreen, you need to pay attention to what you’re really buying, otherwise you could be doing more harm than good.
First, make sure that it’s actually sunscreen you’re buying, not suntan lotion. If there is a bronzer in the lotion, you could end up drawing more sun to your body and frying your skin like a potato chip. If you read the bottle before you buy it, it will tell you all that you need to know.
There’s also the decision on which SPF you should buy. There’s everything from SPF 5 to SPF 100 on the market. According to the AAF (American Academy of Dermatology), the SPF will help deflect the sun-burning rays from your skin. An SPF 15 will deflect about 93% while an SPF 30 deflects 97%. The higher the SPF, the longer you can typically stay out in the sun without turning red. Focus on UVA and UVB protection, too.
As you shop around for your sunscreen, look to see if it water resistant. This will ensure you have the proper coverage for when you go in the pool, the ocean or just work up a sweat. If it’s not waterproof, you could end up washing it off without even realizing it.
You also need to remember to reapply your sunscreen at least every 2 hours to ensure it is still effective.
Did you know that some make-up now comes with UV protection? Generally speaking it won’t provide the protection found in a quality sunscreen, but if you want to stay looking good whilst protecting your skin at the same time it will certainly help. We suggest you apply sunscreen lotion to your face first, allow it to soak in, then apply your UV protection make-up on top. This will provide a much stronger protection than just the make-up on its own and still keep you looking glamorous. If you buy a water-proof make up it will mean you can even have a little dip in the pool too!
Did you know that just like your skin, your eyes get burnt by the sun too? Over time this sun damage can cause catorax and other problems.
Sunglasses don’t just look cool, they provide vital protect for your eyes. Thanks to celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, over-sized sunglasses are very fashionable at the moment. Over-sized sunglasses provide more coverage, hence more protection. Make sure you buy a pair which offer UV protect.
4. SEEK THE SHADE
The sun at certain times of the day is more harmful than other times. Between 10am and 4pm the suns rays are at their strongest so you need to seek some shade. This is where parasols, umbrellas, and wind blockers really come in handy, especially if you are on a beach where shade may be limited. If you are out and about use this time to take shelter under a tree or enjoy an ice-cream in a nice cafe.
5. STAY HYDRATED
We all know the damage dehydration can do to the skin and during the hot summer months it’s very easy to become dehydrated without even realizing it. Make sure you drink lots of water. If you are out and about keep a bottle of mineral water with you at all times and make sure you actually drink it. There’s nothing worse than being thirsty and not within the vicinity of a cold drink! Avoid alcohol and caffeine if possible as it dehydrates. A nice cold beer or sangria might sound refreshing but it will have the opposite effect, leaving you even more thirsty.
Keep a bottle of aloe gel nearby. If you do end up in the sun for a little too long despite wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, then aloe gel can provide you with the little bit of instant relief you may need. You can lather it on liberally and not only will it take the sting out of sunburn but it also will help you from turning too red and blistering.
It’s not just about keeping hydrated on the inside, try carrying a small bottle of water spritz in your bag and mist yourself often. By keeping hydrated inside and out, you can avoid getting overheated. This will not only help you with beating any kind of heat rash but it could also help you prevent any kind of flair ups you might experience with rosacea.
Your lips are part of your skin too, and unfortunately a common place for cancer to form. People often miss or simply forget to apply any protection to this area of their face. Make sure that you get a quality lip balm to keep with you at all times. At least an SPF 15 should be purchased. Avoid petroleum based balms during your time in the sun as they wont help. Just like you do with your sunscreen, you should reapply lip balm every two hours. This will ensure they don’t get burnt and they stay soft and supple.
Hats are not just for looking pretty, they’re a functional item of clothing which provides a great supply of mobile shade! Not all hats are born equal though, make sure you choose one with a nice large brim. This will help protect your eyes and the back of your neck from the sun’s dangerous UV rays.
10. DRESS APPROPRIATELY
From top to bottom, you need to dress appropriately while you’re outside. You can only put sunscreen on so many parts of your body – so pay attention to what goes on the rest of you.
Some garments will actually have an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) to them, too. This will ensure you can go anywhere without worrying about skin damage. Keep in mind that darker materials absorb the UV light and tighter weaves on clothing can prevent the UV rays from penetrating closer to your skin.