The Importance of Sunscreen
If you regularly soak up the sun's rays without proper protection, you could be setting yourself up for serious skin damage.
The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can begin to harm your skin within only 15 minutes of being outside, even on cloudy and cool days. When it comes to using sunscreen, keep these tips in mind:
- Try to put on sunscreen before you go outside to get full protection. And remember to reapply every 2 hours, more frequently if you are in water.
- Always use a sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher. The higher the SPF number, the higher the protection.
- Put a thicker layer of sunscreen on the most exposed body parts: arms, legs, neck, back and face.
- Protect your lips with sunscreen lip balm.
- Avoid using sunscreen on babies younger than six months—use hats, clothing and shade for protection.
- Think about using cosmetics that contain sunscreen. Even these should be at least SPF 15.
- Choose a broad spectrum of products that guard against the sun's ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
Other ways to protect yourself include:
- Clothing: Shirts and pants made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection.
- Hats: To get the most protection, wear a hat with a brim that shades the face, ears and back of your neck.
- Sunglasses: They protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays and lower cataract risks.
- Shade: Get under an umbrella, tree or anywhere else with shade.
Getting sunburned or tanned could be a red flag about your skin's health. When you're in the sun, make sure to slather on some sunscreen and reapply after being out for more than two hours to keep beauty—and your health—skin deep.
Sources: Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC); American Cancer Society