Sun Safety Tips to Keep Your Skin Protected
When we think of sun safety, we think of hot summery days. But, the truth is we are exposed to the sun’s rays no matter the weather. Yep, even in the winter, you can get sun damage.
Sunscreen is essential, but have you heard about these alarming stats driving this commonly-known recommendation?
Here are a few facts from SkinCancer.org:
- “Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.”
- “1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.”
- “More than two people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.”
- “Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.”
- “When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.”
What does UVB/UVA mean?
To understand sun safety, we need to talk about UVA/UVB. These are the two types of ultraviolet rays that penetrate our skin. UVB rays impact the surface level of our skin, the epidermis. On the other hand, the UVA rays go deeper into the dermis of our skin. These rays are responsible for those pesky brown spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. UVA is so powerful that it can even reach our skin when we drive. The bottom line, we need to make sun safety a priority and start a good routine as early as possible. Sun damage cumulates over time, so the earlier we can form these habits, the more your skin will thank you later. With this in mind, let’s dive into how we can prevent sun damage for ourselves and our loved ones.
Effective sun safety tips
- Use Broad-spectrum sunscreens
- Wear UPF sun protective clothing
- Put on a hat that covers your ears and nose
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses.
- Start loving the shade – it’s your friend!
- Avoid the sun when exposure is at the highest, which is between 10 am -4 pm.
- Get annual skin checks with your dermatologist.
What sunscreen is best for sun protection?
To protect your skin from the sun, get broad-spectrum sunscreen. This type of sunscreen protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide is the star ingredient in these sunscreens that blocks these skin-damaging rays. It works for all skin types, even sensitive, and helps fight against sunburn and premature aging. Ideally, you’ll need sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
Tip: Use at least 1 ounce (a shot glass full) of sunscreen for the best protection and apply 30-minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
What about sun safety for children?
Kids live in the present. They don’t think about how their time outside will impact their skin down the road. Nevertheless, getting your kids into good habits early on is crucial.
Here are the recommendations from SkinCancer.org as it relates to children.
- Avoid sunscreens on infants and keep them out of the sun due to their sensitive skin.
- If your child is six months or older, you may start using broad-spectrum sunscreen.
- No matter their age, you may want to add sun protective clothing that covers their arms and legs.
- Adding accessories like a hat and sunglasses are great for extra protection.
- Strollers and umbrellas are also great for maximum shade.
- Note: if there are water activities, get a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen and apply it often.
What brand of sunscreen do we recommend?
At Hill Dermatology and Rejuvenation Med Spa, we love EltaMD. They have a great selection of medical-grade broad-spectrum sunscreens. Plus, they are fragrance-free, sensitivity-free, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn’t clog pores).
No matter what brand you choose, sun safety is vital for your health and well-being. So get annual skin checks at your local dermatologist and select a broad-spectrum sunscreen that includes zinc oxide and is SPF 15 or higher. If you have questions about what brand to use for you and your family, contact Hill Dermatology and get a skin evaluation.