On the Bright Side
The good news is that wearing sunscreen can protect you from skin changes that predispose people to pre-cancerous lesions later in life. It can also make a noticeable difference in the condition of your skin and the number of wrinkles it has. Don't worry about getting enough vitamin D from the sun, because being in sunlight for a half-hour twice a week gives your skin the ability to produce enough of that helpful vitamin.
Basic Sunscreen Requirements
A good sunscreen will contain protection against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. This is referred to as a 'broad-spectrum' sunscreen. Both kinds of ultraviolet rays penetrate deep into the skin and can cause damage if they're not blocked. You'll also see a sun protection factor (SPF) rating on sunscreen bottles, and that refers to the level of protection compared to someone not using sunscreen. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks 97 percent of ultraviolet rays.
It's not commonly known that sunscreen only starts working 15 to 20 minutes after you put it on. That's why it's important to apply it before you hit the pool or the beach. It also wears off through sweat and swimming, and it should be re-applied every two hours and every time you take a dip. Some experts recommend that it be used anytime you're going to be out in the sun for more than 15 minutes between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. A couple of other things to remember are that sunburn can happen on a cloudy day and you can get a sunburn through the window of a car.
Types of Sunscreens
A lotion sunscreen is the gold standard for moisturizing your skin while protecting it from the sun. You can get it as a traditional lotion, whipped cream and even as a mousse. Some of the best-loved facial creams are now adding sunscreen to protect your skin while giving it the moisture it needs. One tip for those who have allergic reactions to sunscreens is to choose a baby sunscreen. Most of them use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to physically block the sun instead of using chemicals.
It's best to start with a lotion sunscreen to make sure that it penetrates the skin well and covers every part of it. Once you're out in the sun, however, it can be really convenient to top it up with a bottle of spray-on sunscreen. Just make sure you're not spraying it into the wind, and hold it close to the area you're covering. Scoop a bit from the larger areas like arms and legs to coat your ears, the back of your neck and other parts that are often overlooked. Be sure to shake the sunscreen before spraying, and rub it into your skin after applying.
Makeup that Includes Sunscreen
A hydrating foundation that also contains sunscreen is one of the most exciting products available in 2018. It's a luxury to even out your skin tone and cover blemishes while adding moisture to your skin and protecting it from UV rays at the same time. Adding sun protection to makeup is becoming more common, and the choices have multiplied since the idea first took off. Sunscreen is no longer greasy and thick, so you can benefit from the variety of cosmetics that include sunscreen in the formula even if your skin tends to be oily.
How to Treat Sunburn
If, despite your best efforts, you end up with a sunburn, the first thing to do is keep your inside and outside well-hydrated. Take a cool shower using only a gentle soap, and moisturize while your skin is damp. Make sure to use a water-based lotion, not an oil-based one or a petroleum-based product like Vaseline. Those can trap the heat in your skin and make the sunburn worse. Aloe vera gel is soothing to the skin, and an anti-inflammatory pain medicine like naproxen or ibuprofen will help relieve the discomfort.
Take Care of Your Skin
There's a sunscreen for everyone, including those with oily, dry or sensitive skin. Remember that taking some medications can increase your chances of getting a sunburn. During the time of day that the sun is closest to the earth, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., it's vital to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Your skin will thank you for it!
Back to Health and Beauty Blog