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Ten Tips - Be Sun Smart in Summer

There are many ways to protect your skin and it is more important during Summer months to prevent sunburn. Do you know what UV Rays are and why the UV Index is important? Have you ever experienced a sunburn even when the sky is cloudy? Are you applying the right type or amount of sunscreen? Read more to learn ways to better protect your skin from damage.

UltraViolet Radiation

A priority in Summer months is to protect from the sun's UltraViolet Radiation (UV Rays in short).

  • UVA Rays age the skin and you cannot feel them

  • UVB Rays burn the skin and you can feel them

Before you head outdoors, note the current UV Index. The UV Index notes the UV Rays that cause sunburn. Weather services assign a number to note how intense the rays are on a a scale from Low (0 - 3) to Extreme (11+). Depending on the place and time, the #UVIndex can be high as early as sunrise. Get into a healthy habit of noting the number so you are better aware.

Even if you don't easily burn, your should take precaution. While a tan may seem #healthy any sign of a tan is damage to the skin. If you still experience color or sunburn with regular sunscreen use, it might be time to change the type and learn how to properly reapply.

Sunscreen Types and How to Use

Sunscreen is meant to:

  • protect your skin

  • absorb (for example, avobenzone) or reflect (for example, zinc oxide) from harmful UV

Zinc oxide is a type of sunscreen used for it's high protection and natural base. It sits on top of your skin and UV Rays reflect or bounce off of the skin. If you were a kid raised before the 1990s you might remember it sold in pots for easy application on your nose.

Several types of sunscreen options have since been developed to better absorb into the skin. Avobenzone, octinocate, octisalate, etc. are some examples of active ingredients used in sunscreen formulations to absorb rays. Most sunscreen ingredients are filed as a drug. Not all formulations are created equal and most drug administrations in every country monitor sunscreen ingredients for safety. Many of us in the skincare industry have our favorites but it's important to be informed on the right formulation for you. The best type protects from different types of UV Rays. Some environmental and health concerns have raised the bar in formulating sunscreens safe for our planet and your body. If unsure, research and ask your favorite skin expert.

A broad-spectrum sunscreen is the best coverage to protect from both types of UV Rays. When you purchase a sunscreen, it must state the:

  • type of UV protection

  • list of ingredients

  • amount of SPF

#SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Formulas range from SPF 15 to 50. SPF50 offers nearly 98% protection. Beyond SPF 50 is often a marketing gimmick because no sunscreen can offer 100%. As a result, skin is burnt and unfortunately damaged because you may not reapply as often as needed. Stay away from products that state "sunblock" which is not accurate because no formulation blocks the sun. All sunscreen companies are required to remove that promise from labels.

For all-over protection, you must apply enough sunscreen on both your face and body. 1 teaspoon for your face, neck and ears and 1 ounce for your body and in between your toes and fingers. Lotions and creams are the best options so you can make sure your skin is covered well. Sprays are not as effective.

Protect and Prevent for Long-term Health

Here are ten tips to protect your skin from the harmful effects of #UVRays in the Summer:

  1. Apply sunscreen at least 15 - 30 minutes prior to exposure, and every 1 - 2 hours if outdoors or in sports activity.

  2. Avoid direct sun from 10 AM - 4 PM and always note the UV Index.

  3. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 to SPF 50.

  4. Use 1 teaspoon for your face and 1 ounce for entire body if in sports activity or swimming.

  5. Apply on back of ears and neck, tops of feet, and hands (and head if missing hair).

  6. Be aware of reflective UV Rays from water, sand, grass, and cement...even under an umbrella or awning.

  7. Sunscreen lotions are best form of application (vs. sprays).

  8. Sun shades are great options for long drives or road trips and sun tents are great options for days at the beach.

  9. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover entire face, neck, and scalp, dark sunglasses to cover entire eye area, or lightweight clothing to cover arms and legs.

  10. Wear a lip balm with SPF to protect your thinnest skin.

You can still enjoy the outdoors but with caution. Invest time and money on the right products. See a dermatologist yearly to get a skin check for moles. Do a monthly check on any sun-exposed areas to look for any moles or texture changes in your skin.

Book a skin treatment for further help. It includes a thorough analysis of your face and neck. I can train you on how to prevent further sun damage and brighten your skin with professional treatments. While I can't diagnose any medical issues, I'm also happy to refer you to my dermatologist.


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