Monday, July 9, 2012

Don't forget your sunscreen!

You hear it from dermatologists, on TV, online, and even from your parents, you have to wear sunscreen if you plan to spend time outside, especially in the summertime! I also mentioned in several past posts not to forget your sunscreen when you go to the pool or spend a day outside to protect your skin, though I haven't gone into much detail on the topic. Since this is an important topic, I've decided to research a little bit on the internet and write today's post on sunscreen and protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

We all know some of the harmful effects that sitting out in the sun without protection can have. From a painful sunburn, to even more long term consequences such as premature aging and even skin cancer. (Tanning beds can have the same effect, as they give off the same rays as the sun.)  And just one blistering sunburn puts you at a higher risk of getting skin cancer (one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer, especially in younger people). But even if you've already had an awful sunburn, it's not to late to protect your skin from further damage. Put on that sunscreen when you go outside!

As we shop for sunscreen, one of the things many of us look at is the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number. This number is determined by the amount of time a person wearing sunscreen would take to burn vs. the amount time someone not wearing sunscreen would take to burn. These generally go from SPF 15 and higher. And it's logical to think that a higher SPF means better protection, and while that may be true, are they really that much better then a lower SPF? A sunscreen of SPF 15 blocks about 94% of the suns UVB rays (many sunscreens don't do much for UVA rays, which are just as harmful and can cause deep skin damage), SPF 30 blocks about 97%, and SPF 45 blocks about 98%. And higher rated sunscreens block a little more UVB rays, but none offer 100% protection. It's still always good to protect your skin as much as you can, but you should always at least go for a product of SPF 15, even if you want to get a tan. You should also go for a water resistant sunscreen if you are going swimming (and so you don't sweat if off, ewww right?) You also shouldn't forget that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 hours, or after swimming, drying off or sweating. 

Along with sunscreen, you should also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays. Along with a cute style, also make it a high priority to look for sunglasses with a high rating to protect from UV rays. Preferably 99-100% or UV 400. If you wear glasses, look into transitions lenses that can adjust as lighting changes.

~ You can even get sunburned in cold weather! The risk of getting a sunburn has nothing to do with temperature, but UV rays from the sun. It's often believed that it has to be hot because the suns rays are what warms the earth. 
~ You can still get sunburned on a cloudy day, and even through a window! 

The truth about Tanning:

While we would all love to have a nice summer glow, the risks that can come along with tanning aren't really worth it. It's best to stay away from the tanning beds to avoid premature aging or more serious problems like skin cancer. If you wish to get a tan from the sun, you should still wear a sunscreen of SPF 15. You can always go for a self tanning lotion for the healthiest way to achieve a nice summer glow, especially if you have really sensitive skin. Just remember, you're going to have your skin for the rest of your life, so it's best to keep it looking young and healthy :) 

We all forget the sunscreen sometimes, nobody's perfect. But you should always make it a priority to put on sunscreen when you'll be spending time outside. 

***Please note that I am not a doctor, not am I trying to be. I am taking research and prior knowledge and simplifying it as much as I can for this blog.***

More information on sunscreen, UV rays, and sunglasses can be found at the following links from: WebMD, ehow, and  ***I am not being paid or sponsored by any of the sites listed***

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