Spring finally seems to be here! Longer days, warmer weather means more time spent outside in the sun. Now, is a good time to remind everyone on how best to protect your skin from premature aging, sun spots and skin cancer. Avoiding the outdoors altogether is impractical and impossible. Take preventative measures in preparing and caring for your skin.
How much sun exposure is safe vs. harmful?
Sun exposure is a key source of Vitamin D. Too much of a good thing, is bad. The ideal amount of time is 15 minutes before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. Anything over is considered overexposure, and any exposure during midday – when the sun is at its harshest – should be limited (if not altogether avoided). Sun rays at this time of day are 10% UVB and 90% UVA: a combination that can cause melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
UVA vs. UVB Rays: What’s the difference?
UVA and UVB Rays penetrating skin Rays used to be nondescript, and UV protection was generalized. More recent and in depth research has shown that there are two kinds of UV rays: – UVA and UVB – rendering standard sunscreens inadequate. Do look for sun blocks that offer protection from both types.
UVA Rays are known are contributing to wrinkles and sunspots and speeding up the aging process as well as contribute to the development of skin cancers.
UVB Rays cause sun burns, reddening, change in darkness of skin pigmentation and
On average, most people have already been exposed to large amounts of UVA rays throughout their lifetimes. Though less intense than UVB rays, UVA rays are 30–50 times more prevalent and are present during all hours of daylight – even on the cloudiest of days – making it necessary to incorporate SPF protection into your everyday routine.
When should you use sunscreen?
Best answer: EVERY DAY!
Ninety-percent of wrinkles are caused by the sun, and while intentional overexposure (tanning, sunbathing) is incredibly harmful, two-thirds of all sun damage is, surprisingly, incidental (walking the dog, driving). Sunscreen should be applied on a daily basis. Opt for moisturizers and body lotions with SPF, and if possible, always choose a higher SPF for your face. Don’t forget your hands especially when driving. Hands are an instant giveaway to your true age, so invest in a hand cream that offers SPF protection.
- Protection is your best best: Lightweight, cotton cover-ups along with a cap or broad-brimmed hat will act as shields from harmful UV rays.
- Apply sunscreen religiously. It’s a surefire way of protecting your skin. Always apply sunscreen 20 minutes prior to allow time for the product to absorb into the skin; re-apply every few hours or as needed. Look for sunscreens that offer protection for both UVA and UVB rays – keep in mind that a high SPF number is no longer enough.
- Don’t skimp on eye creams and lip protection. Sun exposure will gradually thin skin and cause wrinkles. Protect the delicate areas of your face with appropriate creams and balms. Continue to use an eye cream, but if your usual cream feels too heavy for summer, replace your current product with a lighter formulation or use only at night.
- Boost your block with antioxidants. Skincare products containing antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and green tea can help reverse sun damage.
- Keep hydrated. Drink water throughout the day.
Protecting your skin everyday will help to keep you looking youthful and healthy. If you have signs of sun damage, and would like to discuss your options, call Plastic Surgery Associates today to schedule your consultation.