The summer season is here and it can get scorching hot! It can be tempting to jump into a pool to cool off or take a dip in the beach, engage in water sports, sandcastle making or anything you can do under the sun. But did you know unprotected sun exposure can cause skin cancer? Yikes! Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself so you can still enjoy the summer heat. This is where SPF comes in. Sun Protection Factor is the ability of a medium to protect you from the sun. The medium can come in the form of a lotion, liquid mist, clothes or any material that can block harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Here are a few SPF facts and how you can avoid damage from the sun:
Sun Exposure Can Cause BIG Skin Problems
By big we mean skin cancer. More than the temporary sunburn, blistering or peeling, going under the sun increases your risk of getting melanoma and other types of skin cancer. To avoid both and minimize your risk, avoid prolonged exposure and always make sure you have some SPF on before going under the sun.
Every Skin Tone Need SPF
It doesn’t matter what skin tone you have whether light, medium or dark. All skin types are susceptible to sunburn and damage. While darker tones does not get sunburnt as easily, research have found little to no significant difference in the damage that sun exposure in ANY skin type. So lather up in SPF as the sun can and will hurt your skin.
Broad-Spectrum and High SPF
When choosing an SPF, most doctors recommend starting with at least 30 SPF that shields you from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA (Ultraviolet A) permeates deep into the skin causing long term problems like premature aging while UVB (Ultraviolet B) usually scorches your skin and is responsible for the prickly, nasty sunburn. A broad-spectrum sunscreen can protect you from both. Unfortunately SPF does not stack values. Applying a 20 and a 5 SPF product does not provide 15 SPF. Invest in a good SPF product with at least 30 SPF that blocks UVA and UVB for optimum protection.
Sun Damage = Premature Wrinkles
UVA permeates deep into the dermis and damages your skin at a cellular level. This impedes with the cells ability to reproduce healthy skin cells. One of the most noticeable effects or loss of elasticity and premature wrinkles
Any Outdoor Exposure Requires Protection
It doesn’t need to be a day at the beach. Going out under the sun—it could be your commute to work, running an errand or watering your garden still exposes you to the damaging effects of the sun. While wearing icky, water resistant sunblock may not be ideal on days like these, it is still important protect yourself. Opt for light moisturizers with at least 30spf, wear protective clothing, caps, sun visors or even umbrellas. Remember, even the small unprotected exposure can hurt, especially when it is consistent
Re-application is Important
2 hours is a good rule of thumb to remember on when to re-apply SPF. No sunblock is waterproof, only water resistant which means they can only provide protection for a short amount of time. As long as you are under the sun whether in water or just enjoying the summer make sure to replenish your SPF shield every 60 minutes.
Sunscreens, sunblock, and protective clothing with SPF can help prevent or minimize damage from sun exposure but can only do so much. Make sure to stay away from the sun when it is at its hottest, find shade when available, and hydrate to prevent heat strokes that are common when the temperatures go up. With these things in mind, you can protect yourself this summer while still enjoying being outdoors. This infographic from Undercover Waterwear provides more safety information on sun exposure and how you can protect yourself.