When we have beautiful weather, it’s pretty hard to avoid the sun because it feels so good to be outside! We’ve got some tips for you to help you avoid the negative consequences of sun damage:
- Use proper sunscreen
- Stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s burning rays are the strongest.
- Protect your skin with clothing, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outside. Just because you are wearing sunscreen doesn’t mean that you’re protected!
- Take advantage of shady spots
- Be aware of your body – pay attention to unusual spots, moles, etc.
- Avoid tanning and do not use UV tanning booths
Let’s talk about sunscreen…
Sunscreen protects your skin against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays include UVA and UVB. UVA mostly causes aging and wrinkles and contributes to skin cancer. UVB mostly causes sunburn and skin cancer.
The sun protection factor (SPF) in sunscreens tells you how much UVB protection a sunscreen offers. This is why higher SPFs can help: An SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93 percent of UVB radiation, while an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks nearly 97 percent.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that in addition to an SPF of 30+, your sunscreen should include some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, and oxybenzone. Sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection may be labeled multi spectrum, broad spectrum, or UVA/UVB protection.
A common misconception is that sunscreen is only important if you’re going to be outside on a hot, sunny, summer day. Your skin is actually susceptible to damages in cold or cloudy weather too, or even if you’re inside but sitting by a window.
You should apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your whole body 30 minutes before going in the sun. Make sure you reapply your sunscreen every two hours and after you sweat or swim!
What to Do with a Sunburn
Apply aloe vera gel that is at least 90% aloe, or the juice taken right from the plant. Aloe is an anti-inflammatory, so it soothes the damaged skin. It may also prevent the burn from deepening.
When to Call a Doctor
A sunburn with blisters is a second-degree burn and puts you at high risk for skin problems. See a doctor if your sunburn has blistered.
If you notice any mark, bump, blemish, or mole that is changing, growing, or bleeding, call your doctor. It may be skin cancer, which is often treatable when it’s found early.
Also, talk to your doctor about any medications that you take. Some antibiotics, antidepressants, and diabetes drugs can make skin more sensitive to sun. Some drugs that you put on your skin make your skin very sensitive and cause it to burn quickly.