Though there are many causes for wrinkled, dry, and generally bad skin, there are three causes that you can easily prevent. Those three causes are smoking, drinking, and the sun. Smoking and drinking can be prevented simply by stopping them. Both substances provoke free radicals into your skin which can break apart and weaken every part of your body. However, the sun is not so easily managed. Obviously, we can’t just stop soaking in the sun, every time we go outside during the day we are exposed to the sun’s rays. Yes, even in the winter or when it’s cloudy, the sun can still damage our skin.
The sun’s UV rays, if not prevented from being absorbed, can burn and damage our skin, ultimately creating wrinkles, dry patches, and hollowed areas where collagen has decreased. Thankfully, there are preventative measures you can take. The first, and most important, measure is using a sunscreen.
Admit it. As much as you care about your skin, using sunscreen is for the rare occasion when you’re visiting the beach or lounging around a pool in the summer. However, sunscreen is a top priority for any excursion that requires you be out in the sun for more than twenty minutes. It’s the simplest way to prevent burnt skin, wrinkles, and most importantly, skin cancer. Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate your skin. So why be reluctant to such an easy way to protect yourself?
The sun projects UVA and UVB rays that can damage your skin cells resulting in very serious issues. The difference between UVA and UVB is the wavelength, UVA goes deeper. No matter what season, these harmful rays can penetrate your skin and lead to harmful results.
Here’s a quick guide to better understanding and using sunscreen:
What does SPF mean?
The Sun Protection Factor is a key to understanding how strong your sunscreen will be. It is recommended that no less than SPF 15 be used, which offers 93% protection. SPF 30 offers 97 % protection from the sun, and numbers above 30 have higher protection. If you have very burn-prone skin it is recommended to get a higher number. However, sunscreens with SPF above 60 may be irritating to the skin. SPFs can range from 2 to 100.
What other types of sunscreens are available?
There are a wide range of sunscreens with different uses to choose from. No longer are the only sunscreens available white thick lotions that are sticky and smell, well, like sunscreen. Scented, clear, water-resistant, and sprays are all available for men and women to select. It depends on your activity, but it’s easy to determine the right sunscreen for you depending on what you’ll be doing. If it’s just a short stroll to the library or grocery store, you can use light, spray sunscreen that is easy to apply. If you’re taking a day out on the beach you may want to spend a little more time applying the sunscreen as well as using water resistant so you can splash around a bit in the water. For joggers and bikers, there are sport screens that don’t lose their effectiveness while you sweat. For best results, determine your main activity as well as your budget.
How does sunscreen actually work?
Most sunscreens do one of two things, they can either absorb the UV rays or they can scatter them away from the skin. It’s important to understand that not all sunscreens protect from all types of UV rays. The best way to choose a sunscreen that first and foremost offers the protection you need, is to visit the Skin Cancer Foundation’s product guide which lists all approved sunscreens that offer the best care: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/seal-of-recommendation
How do I store sunscreen?
Once purchasing a sunscreen that’s right for you, make sure to keep it in a cool, dark area that doesn’t exceed room temperature. Of course, we’ll all take sunscreen with us to hot beaches or parks but as long as you consciously keep the sunscreen otherwise cool, it should last up to three years. If the sunscreen doesn’t have an expiration date, write the month and year you bought it to keep track of when it’s time to get a new bottle.
How do I apply sunscreen correctly?
Of course, if you’re using sunscreen as much as you should, it probably won’t stick around for three years. With each use, you should use about 1 oz of sunscreen for your entire body, that’s as much as a shot glass. It’s recommend to never skimp on sunscreen, always use a little more than you think you need and make sure to cover every area of your body. Apply sunscreen about 15 – 30 minutes before you head outdoors and reapply every two hours. We also recommend applying antioxidants before sunscreen to maximize efficacy.
What if I forget to put sunscreen on?
The likelihood that you miss an area of your body or forget to put sunscreen on every so often can definitely happen. More likely than not, sunburn will develop. Sunburn is the body’s reaction to damaged cells on the skin. Blood flows to the top layer of skin and fills the capillaries to quickly repair and replace the damaged cells. Once sunburn has occurred, there’s not much you can do to rid yourself of it other than give it some time to heal. But seeing it does cause a great amount of discomfort, there are definitely ways to help the healing process as well, lose some of the pain. Here’s a few tips:
- Apply cool, damp cloths to burned skin.
- Use Aloe to cool the skin and keep it moisturized
- Drink lots of fluids
Other than that, there’s not much to do other than wait for your skin to start to peel. Try not to peel the skin yourself but rather let it fall off naturally.
It’s obvious that sunburn is not an enjoyable experience, hopefully you are able to use the tips and information provided to prevent such burns. If you fear you may be allergic or have more sensitive needs, consult your doctor on what the best sunscreens to use are.
Last Updated on September 22, 2016 by Dr Dayan