Summer is practically here, and most of us are all going to be spending much more of our free time outdoors. Being outside for longer, extended periods of time means more sun exposure to harmful UVB/UVA rays, which can not only lead to early signs of aging, but also deadly skin cancer.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and the more you know about protecting your skin, the better! According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in America with more than five million cases diagnosed every year! One in five Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. Skin cancer is the most common cancer for individuals between the ages of twenty-five to twenty-nine years old. So you may want to ask yourself, “Are you doing everything you can to protect your skin?”
Most people aren’t, can change with a good skincare routine and the right sun protectant products. A good mantra for sun protection is,
- Always Protection
- Wear Protective Clothing
- Re-Apply Protection
Chemical Sunscreen vs. Physical Sunscreen
Now, let’s dive into how you can protect your skin for those long summer days! First off, it is important to note that there are two types of sunscreens. The American Academy of Dermatology states there are not only physical sunscreens but chemical sunscreens.
And you might be wondering what is a chemical sunscreen…? A chemical sunscreen works like a sponge and absorbs the sun’s rays. A physical sunscreen, on the other hand, works like a shield and deflects the sun’s rays.
When researching chemical sunscreens, look for key active ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octocrylene for the most protective coverage. The best active ingredients in a physical sunscreen are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. If you have sensitive skin, it’s recommended to use a physical sunscreen but both effectively protect the skin!
Best Sunscreen Features
When picking out the best sunscreen for you (or your family), remember to look at the label for these three key features!
- Broad spectrum protection
- An SPF of 30 (or more)
- Water resistant
You want to use a sunscreen that has broad-spectrum protection because it will protect your skin from UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays, which cause skin cancer. Whether your sunscreen formula comes as a lotion, a rub-on stick, continuous aerosol spray, or a setting spray(for over makeup!) it is important to check the label for broad-spectrum protection.
For women wearing makeup, most cosmetic brands today include sunscreen in products, such as foundation, tinted moisturizer, and face setting powders which is super convenient.
However, most SPF in makeup products is not broad-spectrum protection unless it says that on the label! So be a knowledgeable consumer when you are making your sunscreen protection purchases!
Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more indicates how the sunscreen will protect you from the sun and future sunburns. The higher the SPF, the greater protection the sunscreen will protect your skin from sun exposure, and the opposite with lower the SPF.
If you were planning to be outside for an extended period of time, you would want to make sure you either had a higher SPF to protect you for longer, or if you were wearing a lower SPF, you were reapplying more often to continue the broad spectrum protection. Products contain an SPF range from 15 to 100+ which is great for you to choose an SPF that works best for your protection needs.
The final sunscreen feature you should be on the lookout for is water resistance. Sunscreens are not going to be fully sweatproof or waterproof, so no matter what brand you choose and no matter how high the SPF is you will need to reapply the sunscreen for continuous protection. Sunscreens can be very water resistant and last for up to 80 minutes, or have normal water resistance and last for around 40 minutes. Check the sunscreen label and set simple reminders on your phone to reapply sunscreen so you, and your family can stay protected from harmful rays.
Tips for Sun Protection
Here are some easy tips to get your daily dose of SPF and keep your skin protected!
- Choose a moisturizer that includes a low SPF that you can apply every morning during your morning routine!
Good news for men and women, there are a plethora of facial moisturizers on the market to choose from at all price ranges.
- Keep an extra brimmed hat, or two in your car so that if an unexpected outdoor activity arises, you’ll be able to protect your scalp from the sun!
- Making an emergency sun-protection bag to keep in your car is a must for active families.
- Fill a large tote bag with a range of sun protectant products, extra hats, white long sleeve shirts (to protect and stay cool), spare water bottles, whatever you might need if your plans change and you find yourself outside on a very hot and sunny day!
You will have the protection you need for your skin all ready to go in the back of your car!
Remember, before you step outside to always apply protection, wear protective clothing, and re-apply protection! If you add small, preventative steps into your daily routine, you won’t really have to think about if you are or aren’t protecting your skin! If you do have any questions about your skin, or any spots on your skin, you should seek a dermatologist for further information!
We would love to hear your tips on how you protect your skin, so leave us a comment below!