1. Wear the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin
The sun can do more than just cause spots and discoloration on your skin’s surface, it can also lead to aggressive and life-threatening skin cancer. It’s important to use the best sunscreen for your skin. A lower SPF can put you at risk of sunburns and increased exposure over time. The goal is to stop the harmful UV rays from reaching your skin’s surface. There are a number of things to consider before choosing your sunscreen, including:
- SPF Level: Always choose a sunscreen with an SPF rating greater than 15. The fairer your skin, the higher the SPF needs to be to protect it. People that can stay in the sun for 20 minutes without burning should multiply that number by the SPF rating to estimate the time that that sunscreen will provide protection.
- UVA Protection: This usually isn’t included in the SPF rating, so you’ll need to look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that includes ingredients like avobenzone or Ecamsule.
- Sweat and Water Resistance: Sunscreen is usually a precursor to swimming or warm weather—meaning that it needs to stay on in spite of water exposure. Look for sunscreens that advertise long-lasting wear through sports and water play.
- Who Will Be Wearing It? Children have particularly sensitive skin and may need a special sunscreen for kids. Make sure to check for age appropriateness prior to applying.
2. Take Advantage of Clothing
An average white shirt only has a UPF value of around 3, but manufacturers are now making clothes designed to protect you from the sun. Shop online or ask your dermatologist about clothing created from special high UPF materials. It can also help to use a sun hat or umbrella to protect your face and shoulders from unnecessary exposure.
3. Stay Hydrated
Hydrated skin is healthy skin! When you sweat or spend time in the sun, your body requires more water to control its temperature. This can lead to dehydration and dry vulnerable skin. When skin isn’t properly moisturized, it becomes more susceptible to sun damage. Make sure to drink plenty of water and to use a moisturizer to give your body a little help. Always take this into account when planning your skincare routine.
4. Don’t Go Out During Peak Hours
Protecting your skin from sun damage doesn’t mean that you have to avoid the sun altogether. But, there are certain times of day that can put you at a greater risk for UV exposure. Depending on your time zone and proximity to the equator, peak sun times are usually between 10am and 4pm. Planning activities either very early or later in the afternoon can cut out a lot of the risk.
5. Always Remember to Reapply!
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is forgetting to reapply their sunscreen. This is especially prudent when swimming or participating in sweat-inducing sports. The more you’re exposed to water, the more often you’ll need to put more sunscreen on. Experts recommend reapplication every 2 hours, and more frequently for children.