While sunscreen isn’t always the most pleasant thing to deal with, it is one of the most important. I’m Irish and have little choice in the matter—I can decide not to apply sunscreen and be miserable, or I can play it safe. After one experience with sun poisoning, I never turned my back on Coppertone®. The reality is, sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin against the sun’s UV rays; however, knowing how to apply it is necessary too—there’s more to the process than just rubbing it on at the beach.
So, in recognition of Sunscreen Day, let’s chat and chew about the importance of wearing sunscreen.
EXPOSING THE FACTS
- According to the American Cancer Society, each year, more than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed.
- While most people only use sunblock when they’re poolside, at the beach, or anticipating being outside for several hours, the sun emits damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays year round. So, even when it’s not 80 degrees and sunny, you should still be protecting your skin.
- The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says, “Even on cloudy days, up to 80 [percent] of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.”
- Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen throughout the day. Most sunscreen bottles recommend re-applying roughly every two hours, after swimming or if you are sweating a lot.
- Despite what most people think, the sun is actually hottest around 3pm.(1)
- To help protect your skin against sunburn, early skin aging and skin cancer, the AAD recommends using a sunscreen that offers:
- Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher
- Water resistant
BENEFITS OF WEARING SUNSCREEN
- Keeps your skin healthy. Sunscreen not only shields against sunburns, it also protects essential skin proteins, such as collagen, keratin and elastin—proteins needed for keeping your skin smooth and healthy. Do your skin a favor and choose a sunblock with at least one of the following as the active ingredient: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone or mexoryl.(2)
- Supports your prescriptions. Certain medications can cause your skin to be very sensitive to the sun’s UV rays, which can lead to a higher chance of sunburn and/or allergic reaction. If you’re unsure about how your prescription(s) might react to sun exposure, be sure to ask your local pharmacist for more insight.
- Reduces skin cancer risks. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. More specifically, melanoma is the third most-common cancer in adolescents and young adults. The reality is, however, skin cancer is preventable in most cases. It’s important you take the time to cover all exposed areas, including your ears, lips, face and back of your hands.
As you venture outside more these next few months, make sure you’re wearing sunscreen. If you’re not sure what sunscreen to buy, check out the 2015 best and worst picks for sunscreens, according to the EWG. Remember, protecting your skin is of vital importance and taking the necessary steps now can only benefit you in the sunny days ahead.