Do You Really Know How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun? 17 Tips and Myths
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It is fun in the sun. The sun has many benefits.
We often associate sunny days with summer, but there are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of sun. Hiking and walks around the block can be done year-round, even in the hot weather, as long as you are careful.
It is important to protect yourself from harmful UV rays when you are outside.
You may think it is as simple as applying the sunscreen, but there is more to it. Get expert recommendations on how to protect your skin from the sun.
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We rely on a diverse group of writers, educators, and other experts to share their tips on everything from the way product application varies to the best sheet mask for your individual needs.
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Angela Casey MD, a double-board certified dermatologist and founder of Bright Girl, says we’ve come a long way in how we discuss sun protection. Still, plenty of misconceptions need to be dispelled.
A little prevention goes a long way
Casey works primarily with people who have skin cancer. She also sees a smaller portion of patients looking for cosmetic procedures due to hyperpigmentation and signs of aging.
Patients often express regret.
“Everything I see from skin cancer to cosmetics is related to sun damage,” says Casey. “Every day I hear patients say, ‘Dr. Casey, I wish I had known as a teenager and in my 20’s how to take care of my skin.’”
It comes down to the evidence and getting it out there to more people.
Getting more evidence-based information is beneficial so people know why prevention is the best medicine and how to achieve the most effective sun protection.
Research shows sun exposure has several benefits, including boosting our
It’s not just for sunny days
Life moves outdoors for barbecues, water sports and swimming during the summer, and Sun protection is a top priority.
“It’s not a bad idea to include sun protection in your daily routine, as long as it’s not a problem.”
This is true even if it is not.
- It is hot and cloudy.
- It is cold and sunny.
- It is cold and cloudy.
- You are driving to an indoor venue.
Regardless of skin tone, age or race, sun protection is essential.
It does a lot more than prevent skin cancer
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and an estimated 1 in 5 Americans will have skin cancer in their lifetime.
Sun exposure is a critical risk factor.
“Ninety percent of skin damage is from ultraviolet exposure,” Casey says. “Prevention is a first-line treatment in keeping our skin as healthy as can be.”
Sun protection can help reduce the risk of skin cancer. It can help with skin appearance.
Sun damage can be damaging.
- reduce skin elasticity
- reduce collagen
- cause pigmentation, sun spots, and redness
- cause broken blood vessels
“There are still things that people don’t know about sun protection.”
Black people can’t get sunburned
“Skin tone doesn’t protect you against burns.”
Though skin cancer is less common in people of color, a
2016 studysuggested that mortality in these individuals was higher. Researchers indicated this higher rate was partly due to a lack of awareness that the sun can impact dark skin tones.
People of all ethnicities, background and skin colors are at risk of sun damage and skin cancer. It is important to spread the message that it is not unique to fair-skinned individuals.
Burn are a risk factor for skin cancer.
“I see sun damage and skin cancers in people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, and skin colors. It’s important to spread the message that it’s not unique to fair-skinned individuals.”
M.D. is owned by AngelaCasey.
You don’t need sunscreen indoors or when driving
“The sun’s rays can penetrate car, home, and office windows.”
You don’t need sunscreen if you’ll only be exposed to the sun for a few minutes
Viktoria Kozlovskaya, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, says there’s been some debate over how long someone can be in the sun without sunscreen.
“She recommends putting it on daily as the strength of the rays will vary. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
I recommend brushing teeth and wearing sunscreen in the morning. It is much easier to apply if you are half-naked or naked.
One application of sunscreen is enough
Not necessarily, saysCasey.
If you are indoors most of the time, it is okay. A lot of sunscreen ingredients are broken down by sun exposure. They become less and less effective over time.
When you sweat or swim, sunscreen can wash off. She suggests you apply every two hours after exercising or going in the water.
A recent AAD survey of 1,000 U.S. adults suggested nearly two-thirds of people did not reapply sunscreen.
Any sunscreen will do
Not all sunscreens are created the same.
It is important to understand the ingredients of chemical sunscreens.
Casey advises ensuring the sunscreen is broad-spectrum, SPF 30+, and contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
“The best and most comprehensive protection against UVA rays, which go deeper into the skin and break down the skin’s own collagen and UVB rays, are offered by that.”
Sunscreen causes vitamin D deficiency
Kozlovskaya says there are other ways to get vitamin D, including supplements and food. Vitamin D is found in eggs, fish, and milk.
Waterproof sunscreens exist
Some sunscreens are water resistant, but not all of them. It is important to reapply after going into the water.
Follow these tips.
- To find out how long your sunscreen is water-resistant, check the bottle.
- Before diving into the pool, apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before.
- Apply to dry skin.
- To get out of the water, dry off, and apply, you must do so within the allotted time.
Shade is enough protection from the sun
“It doesn’t mean that sitting under a tree or awning doesn’t provide a shield from the sun. Same for wearing a hat.”
The sun reflects off sand and water. The sun is going to bounce off the water and onto your skin if you are in a pool with A hat with a wide brim..
“It’s still important to layer on sunscreen.”
A light tan is healthy
This statement is not true, warns Kozlovskaya.
“There is no healthy glow,” Kozlovskaya says. “A tan still damages DNA. You get the same possibility of getting cancer.”
Some patients have told Kozlovskaya that they get a base tan at the beginning of the summer to protect against sunburn. She warns that base tans are still tans and can cause sun damage.
“There is no healthy glow.”
Viktoria Kozlovskaya is a M.D. and a PhD.
It’s too late to implement sun-safe habits
Sun-related skin damage is an accumulated lifetime of exposure. There is still time to protect yourself against the sun later in life.
It is never too late, says Kozlovskaya. Any time will be protective.
The best way to prevent sun damage is to protect yourself from the sun.
Here are their top tips for protecting themselves.
Apply it every day (and reapply as needed)
Casey says slathering on SPF should be a part of your daily skin care regimen.
“Sun protection is needed all year long. A significant percentage of the sun’s rays reach us even on cloudy days. Same thing on cold days. If the sun is out or the temperature is 20 degrees, the UV rays are reaching us.”
Casey recommends putting sunscreen on after cleanser and moisturizer to avoid washing it off. She says sunscreen should always be applied to dry skin.
If you are in the sun, you should apply every two hours.
Use the right amount
“People often don’t use sunscreen.”
“She says that people need to apply a small amount of skin care products. Don’t have a measuring stick?”
A quarter of a cup of sunscreen is enough for most adults, and a full shot glass is also good.
Find the right sunscreen
Casey suggests finding a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against UVA and UVB rays. She says UVA rays are the culprits for signs of aging, while UVB cause burns.
“SPF 30 protects against 97 percent of the sun’s rays, and SPF 50 protects against 98 percent.”
If people plan to swim, they should use a water-resistant sunscreen.
Remember: The whole body means the whole body
She says she sees people who forget certain areas when they apply SPF.
People miss the most common spots.
- The lips are large
- The hands are touching.
- The eyes.
- The ears are big.
She says that all of these body parts are vulnerable to sun damage.
Avoid peak sun
If possible, stay out of the sun when the rays are the strongest.
It is usually between noon and 3 p.m. If you are going to be in the sun, you should stay under an umbrella or tree.
The CDCrecommends avoiding the sun even longer: From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Choose sun-protective clothes and accessories
Extra layers of protection can be provided by clothing and accessories, even though sunscreen is an effective way to mitigate sun damage.
She says she switched from two-piece swimsuits to one-piece swimsuits with sleeves for an added barrier between her skin and the sun.
She also recommends things.
- A hat with a wide brim.
- There are sunglasses.
- The colors are darker.
- It is made of thick materials.
- There are long sleeves and pants.
Many of these items, including pants and thick materials, are fine for the winter but can make you feel hotter in the summer. She usually chooses lightweight linens in the summer.
You can also look into sun-protective clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says clothing marked UF 50+ provides “excellent” protection. Items marked UPF 30-49 offer very good protection.
Do a skin check at least once per year
Not everyone needs to see a doctor, but they should check their skin for any problems at least once a year.
The AAD suggests checking your skin annually on your birthday so you don’t forget.
If you notice any changes in your skin, they recommend talking to a board-certified dermatologist.
People at higher risk for skin cancer should speak with their care team about the best time to have their check-ups.
The best sun care product is one you will use, according toCasey. She says everyone should use a sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Both she and Kozlovskaya say that certain ingredients in sunscreens can be beneficial for certain skin types.
It can make oily skin feel better.
A product that is oil-free is recommended byCasey. These items are less likely to cause problems.
Try La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Face Sunscreen.
Secondary ingredients that may be beneficial for people with oily skin include:
- The acid is called hyaluronic acid. for moisture
- anti-inflammatories, like green tea and niacinamide
- alpha hydroxy acid is a class of acid., such as lactic or glycolic acid
Dry skin or climates
Individuals with dry skin or those going to a desert vacation may benefit from a sun care product with ingredients that are hydrating.
These ingredients are used.
- The acid is called hyaluronic acid.
- alpha hydroxy acid is a class of acid.
- The substance is called glycerin.
- dimethicone is a drug.
Casey recommends CereVe products for people with dry skin.
People with sensitive skin should avoid sun care products with three common irritants.
She recommends a mineral-based sunscreen rather than a chemical one.
People with sensitive skin often have to try a few products to find the one that works for them.
She says it is trial and error.
sunscreen marketed for babies is often a good choice, as it typically contains fewer ingredients.
It is popular with parents of young children.
It’s always a good idea to do a patch test before you use a new product on your skin.
People with dark skin may avoid sunscreen because of the white caste it leaves behind.
These days, there are better options available that match darker skin tones or go on clear.
A sunscreen with a tint is recommended byCasey. She says this can make life easier if you are in a rush and are comfortable in the summer heat.
Try Supergoop! CC Screen 100% Mineral CC Cream SPF 50 PA++++.
Bonus: It can double as a foundation, so you’ll have one less layer of product on your face.
For swimming and water sports
If you are diving in, you will want to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. She recommends a dry-touch or gel formula.
There are no waterproof sunscreens, but there are a lot of sunscreens that offer water resistance.
Sun damage is a leading cause of skin cancer and other skin issues.
Prevention is the best medicine according to experts. Every day, add sunscreen to your skin care regimen. A broad-spectrum product with SPF 30 is recommended.
“All skin types are vulnerable to skin cancer. There is no such thing as a healthy color. Even if you don’t get color in the sun, you may still have suffered damage.”
There is no better time to start protecting your skin than now. You benefit from protecting your skin.
Beth Ann Mayer is a New York-based freelance writer and content strategist who specializes in health and parenting writing. Her work has been published in Parents, Shape, and Inside Lacrosse. She is a co-founder of digital content agency Lemonseed Creative and is a graduate of Syracuse University. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.