In an age where we have access to hundreds of skin care products, it seems we’ve tossed the most important product of all to the wayside. We know we should be wearing sunscreen, but most of us treat it like an afterthought. Here are some reasons why sunscreen needs to be your number one skin care product.
Protection from UV rays – This is the ULTIMATE reason we need some SPF. With the state of our ozone layer, we really need to take our skin protection into our own hands. Exposure to UV rays can lead to skins disorders and cancers. Plus, we’ve all had painful sunburns – the itchy, peeling awfulness. Why wouldn’t we want to stay protected?
Summer isn’t the only time of year that you need sunscreen – It’s not just on those hot sunny days that you need to be active about protecting your skin. Harmful UV rays can still affect you on cloudy or cold days. Snow, sand, and water exposure increase your need for sunscreen, as they reflect the sun’s rays.
Prevents premature aging – Damage from UVA rays contributes to wrinkles, fine lines, discolouration, and blotchiness. Think about it like this: Why would you spend tons of money on makeup to cover up these imperfections, but skin skip protecting your skin? And if you’re thinking that UV rays aren’t the culprit, meet Bill McElligott (pictured below).
After 28 years as a truck driver, Bill is left with unilateral dermatoheliosis (severe sun damage) on the left side of his face. This damage gives the illusion that he is much older than he is. His case is not uncommon, in fact, American studies have found that the most severe sun damage cases involve the left arm and left side of the face. We know this is an extreme example, but it’s a very real example of what improper (or lack of) protection of your skin can look like.
So what do you need to look for in a sunscreen?
Specialists recommend that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day that is a minimum of SPF30 that protects you from UVA and UVB rays, preferably water resistant. You should apply sunscreen on all visible skin (even your lips – SPF lip balm is easy to find) about 15 minutes before you go outside. And follow the instructions on the bottle! A common mistake when it comes to sunscreen is that people forget to reapply.
You might be thinking to yourself, “But I want a nice tan for the summer.” Keep this in mind – there is no safe way to tan. Tanning your skin is damaging your skin.
If you’re wondering what else you can do for added UV protection –Wear a hat to protect your face and head (whether or not you have hair, you can still get burned up there!)
Limit extended, direct exposure to sun, especially during the sun’s peak hours. If your shadow is shorter than you are, find some shade.
Be aware! Keep an eye on the condition of your skin, and if you notice changes, contact your doctor.
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