While being outdoors can benefit your physical and emotional well-being by reducing stress and allowing your body to make more vitamin D, excess sun exposure can cause premature aging and elevate your risk for skin cancer. Knowing how to prevent UV damage is essential for good skin health and keeping you looking younger longer. Here are our board-certified dermatologists’ top five tips for protecting yourself from the sun’s rays this summer.
1. Choose Sunblock Wisely
Not all brands and types of sunscreen are equal. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which means it will protect you from UVA and UVB radiation. Make sure it will not clog your pores, is water-resistant, and has an SPF of at least 30. Sunblocks that don’t meet these criteria may help you prevent a sunburn, but they won’t shield you from skin cancer.
2. Use Sunscreen Daily – Even If It’s Overcast
At least 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, apply at least one ounce of sunscreen to any areas of your body you will expose to the sun. In addition to your face, don’t forget your neck, ears, and hands. Reapply every two hours – or more often if you are sweating or swimming.
3. Accessorize Your Summer Look
Nothing says summer like a stylish pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, but these accessories aren’t merely fashion statements. Ideally, your hat will shade your entire face, neck, and ears. For maximum eye protection, buy sunglasses that block 100% of UV radiation. The more coverage your shades provide, the less sun damage you will end up inflicting on your eyes. Consider buying oversized or wraparound-style frames and lenses, which will cut down on the chance of UVA and UVB radiation entering your eyes from either side.
4. Seek Shade
When the UV index in your area is high, you can reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying under the shelter of an umbrella or tree. Even when you are fully in the shade, you should still regularly reapply sunscreen and wear protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts.
5. Know the Warning Signs of a Sunburn
Even a relatively mild sunburn is unpleasant and may lead to irreversible skin damage. In the summer, you might start to burn even faster than you realize. If your skin is hot to the touch or has started to redden or darken in color, get out of the sun as soon as possible and start applying cold compresses or soothing aloe vera gel. Remember, there is no safe or healthy way to tan, and tanned skin is a sign of damage from UV radiation.
Get Healthy, Glowing Skin All Year Long
Whether your skin concerns are cosmetic or medical, you can count on our team of dermatologists to take excellent care of you. Our consultative approach ensures you will always get individualized attention, regardless of what procedure you choose. We also offer medical-grade skin care products, including sunscreen from the La Roche-Posay line. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.