We wear sunglasses to protect our eyes and reduce the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. But did you know that they also protect the skin around our eyes from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays? UV rays not only damage the skin but can also increase the risk of cancer and have been linked to premature skin aging, wrinkling, and sagging.
During the spring and summer months, sun exposure is inevitable. Without it, we would experience a significantly shortened lifespan and a host of serious health problems. However, as the sun is linked to increased rates of skin cancer, cataracts, and premature aging, it is important to wear sunscreen on the beach and while running errands, driving, and even exercising outdoors to protect ourselves during the summer months.
As summer approaches, people are anxious to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. However, many sun protection ads and articles claim people only need 15 to 20 minutes of sun a day or that you can tell how much sun you’re getting by how quickly it’s burning you. This could not be further from the truth.
Some people genuinely believe that if they apply sunscreen when they are outside, they are protected from all the harmful rays and that if they wear protective clothing, they are protected from the harmful UV rays. This is simply not true! Excessive exposure to UV rays is a major cause of skin cancer.
Today, we’re taking a look at the reality when it comes to sun protection.
No sunscreen is actually waterproof
Sunburn and skin cancer are both serious health risks, and SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is designed to prevent both. But most of the sunscreens on the market only offer protection from UVB rays, which account for about 90% of sunburns and skin cancer. While SPF 30/50 products block about 93% and 97%, respectively, of UVB rays, the UVA rays that damage the skin and are responsible for most long-term skin damage aren’t blocked by most SPF products. You might think this doesn’t matter much since most of us don’t spend much time out in the sun, but UVA rays penetrate clouds, glass, and water and can reach you at any time.
How many times have you been on the beach, feeling glorious, only to realize you left your sunscreen at home? It has happened to me many times! However, even after application, it is worth remembering that sunscreen is not actually waterproof. Sunscreen only stays on for about two hours before it starts to wash off. So, you’ve got to reapply it about every hour, and that can get expensive.
Sunscreens with at least 30 SPF are the most effective
Want to look your best this summer? Avoid the burn by investing in sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Sunscreen with 30 SPF blocks 97 percent of UVB radiation, which can give you a serious sunburn. But beyond that, a sunburn can also increase a person’s risk of skin cancer. Sunscreens with at least 30 SPF, however, have been shown to lead to fewer skin cancers than sunscreens with 15 SPF or lower. The National Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection, such as broad-spectrum SPF 30 or greater, since both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin damage.
Sunscreens, though a seemingly simple product, have a variety of ingredients, and not all are created equal. But if you’re looking for a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, you’re in luck. Sunscreens with higher SPF protect against more of the Sun’s rays, but they usually contain ingredients such as chemicals that are harmful to your skin. Sunscreens with at least 30 SPF usually use physical blockers that absorb or reflect UV rays, such as zinc oxide.
Sunscreen is just one factor
Sunscreen is one of the most important things you need to protect your skin from the sun. But aside from sunscreen, there are other things you can do to protect yourself from harmful rays. Firstly, try to avoid being in the sun during peak hours. In addition, put on your sunglasses, wear protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-sleeved top when you are outside, and if possible, find some shade.