While the sun’s rays can feel good on your skin, overexposure to harmful rays definitely won’t.
Make sure you know how to keep your skin protected while enjoying the warm weather. Here are some guidelines:
Everyone over 6 months of age should use sunscreen to avoid premature skin wrinkling and age spots. Cumulative exposure to sunlight also increases the risk of skin cancer. It is estimated that one in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Not recommended for children under 6 months of age. Children should be kept in the shade, and when exposed to the sun should wear protective clothing with long sleeves, pants and a wide-brimmed hat.
Look for an SPF of 30 or higher. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of the sun’s harmful UVB rays. Look for products labeled “broad spectrum,” which help block both short wavelengths of UVB rays that cause sunburn, as well as long UVA rays, longer wavelengths of light that penetrate deeper into the skin and contribute to skin aging and wrinkles. . Over time, excessive exposure to both UVB and UVA can increase the risk of skin cancer.
» Read more: A dermatologist explains how to choose the right sunscreen | Expert opinion
Also look for a sunscreen label that says “waterproof” and indicates how long it will last. Even a very good waterproof sunscreen can be effective for up to 80 minutes, after which it needs to be reapplied.
In the end, the best sunscreen for you is the one you use consistently.
Approximately 1 ounce of sunscreen (enough to fill a glass) will be needed to cover an adult’s entire body. Not using enough sunscreen will provide less than the SPF stated on the product label. And don’t forget to protect your lips, which are also prone to skin cancer. Use a lip balm with at least SPF 30.
Sunscreen should be used daily on any skin exposed to the sun, even on cloudy days. UV rays can penetrate window glass. I see more skin cancers and carcinogens on the left side of the face and hand than on the right side, which is likely due to exposure to sunlight through a car window while driving.
Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before exposure to the sun, and then reapplied every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. Sunlight reflects off sand, snow, and water, so be extra careful when boating, fishing, swimming outdoors, or at the beach. Tell golfers to reapply sunscreen when they turn around on the ninth hole.
Look for products that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which are physical blockers and work like shields by keeping out the sun’s harmful rays.
I like to use sticky sunscreens, especially for the face, because they won’t irritate your eyes when you sweat. I also find that kids love sunscreens because they don’t make their hands greasy.
I recommend avoiding sunscreens, because spots on the skin are easy to miss. It should also not be used near the face to avoid inhalation. Sunscreen sprays are flammable, and burns requiring hospitalization have been reported as a result of their use.
Creams are best for dry skin, while sunscreens are useful on hairy areas, such as a man’s chest. For acne-prone individuals, look for the word “noncomedogenic” on the label.
A tan is your body’s reaction to an injury from the sun. Suede does not replace sunscreen. In fact, tanning should be avoided as it increases the risk of skin cancer and leads to aging of your skin. If you want to get the look of a tan, use a self-tanning cream.
Look for clothing with a UV protection factor (UPF) 50 label. UPF refers to the amount of ultraviolet light from the sun that penetrates the fabric and reaches the skin. Sunscreen is useful for covering large areas of the skin. Reckless protection shirts are very effective, while wide-brimmed hats add extra protection.
And don’t forget eye protection. Wear sunglasses marked UV400, which means the lens will block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. This will help protect your eyes and may reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
Jeffrey BullockMD, FAAD, FACP, is a dermatologist affiliated with Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia.