We always hear the saying, make sure you are using sunscreen, but what does that really mean? According to the American Academy of Dermatology sunscreen prevents sunburn, helps to keep skin looking young and reduces the risk of skin cancer. I don’t know about you but I want all of those things for my skin! Find out more about the benefits of sunscreen.
The Benefits of Sunscreen:
What is sunscreen?
- Sunscreen is a product that combines different ingredients to help protect the skin from the sun’s rays. These rays from the sun are UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are what make your skin burn and they are blocked by windows. UVA rays cause your skin to wrinkle and give you spots that some people call “age spots”. This ray can pass through windows and glass.
When should I use sunscreen?
- You should use sunscreen anytime you will be outside. The sun shines all year, even on cloudy days. Also, water, sand and snow reflect the sun’s rays which can cause you to burn quicker than normal.
How much sunscreen should I use?
- You need to use enough that the whole surface of your exposed skin will be covered. Dermatologists find that most people do not apply enough sunscreen. Also, do not forget your scalp and lips, they will burn as well.
How often should I apply sunscreen?
- You should always apply sunscreen 15 minutes before being exposed to the sun. You will need to reapply every 2 hours and if you are sweating or swimming more often than the 2 hour mark.
What type of sunscreen should I use?
- You will want to pick one that has an SPF of 30 or higher. If you will be in water you will need to have a water resistant one as well. Everyone will have a different type that they like; this is fine you will just want to be sure it is one that you will use on a regular basis.
- There are several types to choose from and there is no wrong or right one to pick. There are sprays, lotions, creams, sticks and gels. They all serve the same purpose; it is just your own personal choice. I like the lotions and the sprays but someone else may like another kind. I also like to use a different type on my face than on the rest of my body since my face is a more sensitive area.
- If you have children there are special sunscreens just for them. There are also sunscreens made with cosmetics in mind. Some of these include moisturizing sunscreen and some make-up such as powders and foundations come with the protection right in the product.
What SPF should I use and what is SPF?
- SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, this basically means how long it will protect you from the sun’s rays.
- Dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30. If you are using at least 30 SPF than you should be protected as long as you remember to reapply. Higher numbers protect your skin too but no sunscreen can block out all of the sun.
Who should use sunscreen?
- Everyone that is at least 6 months of age should be using sunscreen. Babies younger than 6 months of age should be kept out of the sun. They need to be in a shaded area or covered with clothing to protect them from the sun.
Is it ok to use sunscreen that has expired?
- If you are using the proper amount of sunscreen then it should not be expired. If you find it is though you should throw it away. Dermatologists suggest throwing it away because the ingredients that provide protection for your skin can break down over time and they will not protect your skin as they should.
Myths about Sunscreen:
- If you wear sunscreen you will not get your daily amount of Vitamin D. Most dermatologists do not believe this. Most foods that you eat have Vitamin D in them and regardless of how much you protect yourself some sun will get through. Some of the foods that provide Vitamin D are milk, eggs, salmon and orange juice, just to name a few. Also, if you feel as though your Vitamin D levels are low you can check with your doctor and take a dietary supplement.
- I have already gotten so many sunburns, the damage is done. This is not true! It is never too late to start protecting your skin. People are living longer so the sooner you start to protect your skin the better. Most parents now know that their children need to be protected from the sun, whereas before no one really talked about the sun or sunscreen.
- You do not need to wear sunscreen in the winter or if it is cloudy outside. The snow reflects the sun’s rays and the sun is still shining behind the clouds. So you do need it on these days as well.
If You Do Get Sunburn:
- Treating the sunburn as soon as possible is very important.
- You can buy Aloe Vera which will cool the skin and moisturize while it helps to heal.
- You can purchase ibuprofen or aspirin to help with the inflammation in your skin. This also will help reduce the swelling in the skin.
- Make sure you are drinking extra water. Sunburn will easily make your body dehydrated.
- Avoid more sun exposure while your skin heals.
I use sunscreen every day. Sometimes I just use what is in my make-up, especially when I am just going to work and will be inside all day. Other days I apply to every part of my skin that will be in the sun. I hope to keep my skin looking as nice as I can for as long as possible and if taking a few extra minutes to apply before I go outside is what I need to do then I am all for it! Hopefully it was interesting to learn some of the benefits of sunscreen.