We all know how important it is to wear sunscreen during the summer months to avoid sunburn and lasting skin damage, especially if you have fair skin or a tendency to burn easily, but according to the American Academy of Dermatology, everyone should be wearing sunscreen every day of the year. That’s right. You shouldn’t just wear it on your summer vacation, you should be putting on sunscreen every day before you leave the house.
Is Sun Exposure Dangerous?
Sunlight is made of two types of light rays known as UVA and UVB. UVA rays can pass through windows and glass and are known as the ‘aging rays’ for its ability to slow down your skin’s natural healing process, prematurely age skin, and cause age spots and wrinkles. UVB rays, or ‘burning rays,’ are the root cause of sunburns and luckily, can be obstructed by window glass.
Contrary to popular belief, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can easily penetrate clouds (up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can get through), meaning that your skin still needs protection even on cloudy, overcast days. Since UV radiation from the sun and man-made sources (such as tanning beds) are known carcinogens, it’s more important than ever to protect your skin with sunscreen.
How Does Sunscreen Protect Your Skin?
Sunscreen protects your skin by blocking the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays of light. The immediate damage of UV ray exposure is sunburning, with the most severe, long-term effect being an increased risk in developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer with prolonged or overexposure to the sun being a primary cause of its development.
Which Sunscreen Should You Choose?
When choosing a sunscreen, you should first consider the SPF number that will offer maximum protection, depending on your lifestyle and everyday activities. For instance, if you spend a lot of time outdoors, you’ll want a sunscreen that is water- or sweat- resistant and can protect your skin for a more extended period of time. SPF stands for sun protection factor which classifies how well that particular product will block UVB light (burning rays) from your skin. Most of the time, your sunscreen will absorb UVA rays, and the higher the SPF number, the greater the protection that product can offer you.
Even if you spend most of your time indoors, don’t forget those pesky UVA rays that can pass through windows, and opt for applying sunscreen to your face and neck which should provide you with plenty of protection throughout the day. It is recommended that everyone, regardless of age, complexion, or gender should apply a sunscreen product with at least broad-spectrum SPF 30 for everyday protection.
Thankfully, the development of sunscreen has advanced well beyond the pasty white, greasy cream of your childhood and into products that look, smell, and are better for you. Sunscreens can range from spray-on products, lightweight lotions or rubs, and can even be incorporated into hydration serums and gels alongside vitamins and minerals to further improve your skin’s health.
Whatever product you prefer using, by incorporating sunscreen into your daily skin care regimen, you can protect your skin from the effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and decrease your risk for developing skin cancer, prevent sun damage, premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots. To learn more about proper skin care and treatment for sun damage, book an appointment at Kass Center for Cosmetic Surgery today!