Most of us are aware that the sun is harmful to our skin. Now that summer is upon us, we can arm ourselves with knowledge that will allow us to have fun in the sun and enjoy its warmth while protecting our skin from its harmful rays.
Shield yourself with clothing, a hat and glasses whenever possible. That’s a great start, but the sun can penetrate our clothing, so it’s important to apply sunscreen as well. The trick is to buy the right product, have it on hand and remember to use it.
For prolonged outdoor activity, choose a sunscreen that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Those with fair skin will want to use a higher number.
Choose a sunscreen effective against both UVA and UVB rays, typically identified as a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen liberally. For adult protection, use 1 ounce per application. Don’t spread it too thin. Apply sunscreen on dry skin, between 20 and 30 minutes before sun exposure begins. If you are at the beach or pool, apply sunscreen again after swimming. All sunscreens lose some degree of effectiveness when skin is submerged in water. Although many say they are waterproof and sweat proof, their effectiveness diminishes when long periods are spent in the water. For best results, reapply as directed.
Lotions and creams are the most common delivery systems for sunscreen. Sprays are sometimes preferred by parents for use on small children. Skin care experts say that you can apply sunscreen to children over six months old. For best results, check with your pediatrician.
Look for PABA-free, fragrance free and hypo-allergenic sunscreen if you are allergic to skin care products. Select sunscreen that is non- comedogenic if you are prone to break outs.
Many cosmetic companies create moisturizer and foundations that contain sunscreen. This is a good way to go, because most of us don’t forget to put on foundation before leaving the house, but many of us forget the sunscreen. You can’t forget the SPF 30 if it’s already in your makeup.
If you do burn, stay out of the sun for a few days. Sunburn means exactly that—skin is burned. Use a topical cream such as A&D Ointment or aloe vera gel which will cool the burn. Enjoy your summer, and tan safely!