We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen in the summertime to avoid sunburn and damage, but it really should be a year-round preventive health measure. Wearing sunscreen every day is a crucial part of your skincare routine, and without it, you are exposing the sensitive skin on your face to unnecessary damage from sun exposure. Studies show that proper use of sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer. Anyone from babies to seniors can be diagnosed with skin cancer. However, you can prevent and combat the disease by one simple step: apply sunscreen.
Top three reasons to wear sunscreen year-round
- Decrease risk of skin cancer
The number one reason you should prioritize wearing sunscreen is that it is very effective in reducing the risk of developing a variety of skin cancers. You must apply sunscreen daily, even if it is cloudy or raining, to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
- Prevent the visible signs of aging
Overexposure to sunlight can cause premature aging including discoloration, fine lines, and wrinkles. Wearing SPF daily can help protect against the harmful effects of skin aging.
- Maintain an even skin tone
Sun damage can cause uneven skin tones such as brown sunspots and other discoloration. You can avoid these by putting on sunscreen every day.
Choosing the right sunscreen
There are two types of UV light that can damage your skin – UVA, and UVB. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays can cause sunburn. Too much exposure to UVA or UVB rays can cause skin cancer. For starters, it is recommended to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
SPF 30 or higher
SPF stands for Sun-Protection Factor, a measure of how well sunscreen blocks out UVB rays (UVA protection isn’t rated) which ranges anywhere from 2 to 100. No sunscreen can block 100% of sun rays, however, SPF 30 can block approximately 97%. Manufacturers calculate SPF based on how long it takes to sunburn skin treated with sunscreen as compared to skin with no sunscreen. It is recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. However, higher SPF does not mean higher protection. Sunscreens with SPFs greater than 50 provide only a small increase in UV protection. Also, there is insufficient evidence to conclude a true difference in protection between products that are SPF 50, 75, or 100.
The term water-resistant means that the SPF is maintained for up to 40 minutes in water. If you don’t want your sunscreen to diminish in power while you swim or get caught in the rain, look for a water-resistant type!
Different forms of sunscreen
Cream: The most common form of sunscreen, best for use on the face or for dry skin
Gel: Best for hairy areas (scalp, men’s chest)
Stick-based: Best for around your eyes, so it won’t get into your eye when you sweat
Spray: Easiest to apply, best for babies or for sensitive skin
- Apply generous amounts of sunscreen (larger than a quarter in size for the face) 15-30 minutes before you go outside.
- Use sunscreen on all skin surfaces that will be exposed to the sun including face, neck, ears, arms, legs, feet. Apply a lip balm with an SPF of least 30 to your lips.
- Wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy! UV light can pass through the clouds.
- Don’t forget to check the sunscreen’s expiration date.
Applying sunscreen daily may seem like an unnecessary step to add to your skincare regimen, especially if you are just going out for a quick coffee run, but it is crucial to maintaining the health of your skin. Find the product that works best for you and always keep it by your side!