*these are my educated and researched opinions, please don’t mistake them for medical advice*
It’s that time of year again! The time when everyone wants to be outside! But don’t forget your sunscreen. The suns rays are the number one cause of skin ageing.
Though a great deal of sun damage happens before age 18, that does not mean that you are safe from the sun. Whether you are wearing natural or regular sunscreen, just make sure you apply them liberally and frequently while enjoying the sun.
Apply liberally you say?
Yes! A shot glass amount of sunscreen is what is recommended to cover your entire body. And also remember that the SPF in your makeup isn’t providing you with adequate protection unless you cake it on and cover your entire face. Don’t forget to apply to the tops of your ears and the backs of your hands as well.
Natural or regular sunscreen, what should I choose?
Natural sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in order to protect the skin by deflecting the suns rays away from the skin. Both are excellent protectors, however they can look white and chalky until thoroughly blended into the skin.
Regular sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds that create a chemical reaction on the skin and change UV rays into heat that is then released from the skin. Be sure to apply 15-20 minutes before heading out into the sun.
What level of SPF should I use, the highest I can find?
The simple answer is higher doesn’t equal better. For example SPF 30 will protect your skin from approx. 98% of rays, whereas SPF 60 will only protect you from approx. 98.5% of rays. SPF 60 would also wear off before its recommended reapplication time. It is better to be more diligent with reapplication every 2 hours than to have an extremely high SPF.
*the FDA has ruled that no SPF can be rated higher than SPF 50*
Don’t forget to check that expiry date!
I can hear some of you ask… “I have darker skin, do I still need SPF?”
Absolutely!! Although the melanin in your skin will protect you somewhat, you can still burn, and scar easily. And it may be more difficult to tell when moles have changed.
What if I can’t wear sunscreen?
There is clothing on the market with built in UV protection, some of you may know them as “rash guards” These articles of clothing have been tested for the optimal protection, just be sure to read the UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) number. Why can’t I just use a regular cotton t-shirt? Cotton doesn’t provide enough barrier against the sun. For example: cotton has a UPF 5, so it will let in 1/5th of the suns rays, a rash guard can have a UPF 50, so it will only let in 1/50th of the suns rays. These shirts are perfect for sports such as snorkeling where sunscreen would normally wash off.
I went “pretanning” won’t that protect me?
I get this question quite often. No, it will not protect you any more than tanning in the sun. UV rays are UV rays, whether they come from a tanning bed or the sun, they are both equally damaging.
A lot of people believe that a “base tan” is protective. This is not true. A tan is your body’s response to injury from a radiation (UV rays) burn. Another myth that people believe is that controlled indoor tanning is safe because you only tan for a few minutes. Indoor tanning exposes you to intense UV rays, which increase your risk of melanoma. www.cancer.org
Have a skin safe summer!!