It’s easy to forget about summer skin care when you’re enjoying yourself outside. While spending time at the beach or poolside, on the biking or hiking trails, or playing pretty much any outdoor sport, regularly applying sunscreen is probably the last thing on your mind. However, summer skin care is something you should definitely pay close attention to.
It’s no secret that the sun has UVA and UVB rays that are extremely damaging to your skin, which makes it hard to believe that so many people ignore the damage that the sun can cause to their bodies. Sun damage causes aging and, of course, various types of cancer. Taking appropriate summer skin care precautions is the only way to go.
Summer skin care requires you to be SPF savvy
Choose your sun protection factor (SPF) level carefully. SPF indicates the amount of time you can stay in the sun with that particular level of sunscreen. For example, an SPF of 15 means you can stay in the sun 15 times longer than you would normally. So, for a person that begins to burn in 10 minutes, an SPF of 15 allows sun protection for 150 minutes.
While using an SPF of 15 is a good start, you should use an SPF of 30 if you are planning on spending longer periods of time outdoors.
Sunscreen only works if you use it properly. Follow these summer skin care guidelines to protect your flesh and your health:
–Be sure to put sun block on 30 minutes before heading outdoors.
–Apply sunscreen every two hours, regardless of the SPF level. Over time, sunscreen wears off by being touched, rubbed off with towels or by sweating.
–Use protection on all parts of your body. Don’t forget your ears, head, hands, and feet. Use a lip balm with sun protection to guard your lips.
–Remember that cotton clothes often protect less than an SPF 15 sunscreen. Even if you have a T-shirt on, you should use sunscreen.
–Know that waterproof sun block may not be as waterproof as you think; after swimming or sweating, apply more.
–Use the right amount of sun block. Every two hours, you should apply about an ounce. If you don’t use enough, you may as well not use any at all. Apply a little extra to vulnerable areas, such as the face.
–Check the best-before date. Sunscreen expires and loses its effectiveness over time. Leaving your sunscreen in the heat will also jeopardize its strength.
–Use a higher SPF if you are also using bug spray as some repellents can reduce the effectiveness of your sunscreen.
–Only use baby-formula sunscreen on babies._________________________________________________________________________
Extra sun care
If you are fair-skinned, have blond or red hair and blue or green eyes, you may be at a bigger risk for sun damage. Sunscreen is a start, but you should take additional precautions if you plan on taking in some serious sun:
–Stay out of the sun during peak times (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
–Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your head and face.
–Never leave home without your sunglasses. Purchase sunglasses with 100% UV protection and don’t buy strictly for fashion. Remember that just because your sunglasses are darker, does not necessarily mean they protect against the sun.
–Avoid tanning beds. They are just as dangerous as natural light, if not more so.
Play it safe
If you notice a change in your skin, such as new moles, moles that have changed shape, color or size, scaly or crusty growths, or areas of skin that are rough and coarse, make an appointment to discuss concerns with your doctor.
If you follow proper skin care rules, you should feel free to enjoy the warm summer weather without fear of burning. Sure, stopping the fun to slather on the sunscreen may seem frustrating, but it could help save your life.