In the United States, more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. If you don’t want to be a part of this statistic, then you may be wondering about the importance of sunscreen.
Should you wear sunscreen every day? What about indoors? Read on to learn more about getting the most out of your sunscreen skin protection.
Understanding Ultraviolet Light
The first step to understanding the importance of sunscreen is to be aware of how ultraviolet light works. Ultraviolet light comes in the form of invisible rays that are produced by the sun. These rays are responsible for giving you that warm summer tan- and also that uncomfortable summer burn.
Too much exposure to UV rays can not only cause annoying sunburns but also damage to the living tissue in your body. If you experience too much damage, then you are at risk for premature aging or diseases such as skin cancer.
What Is SPF?
SPF, or sun protection factor, measures protection against burning from the sun’s rays. The SPF number represents how long it would take for UV rays to reach your skin. For example, if you use SPF 50, it will take you 50 times longer than normal to burn after applying it.
Why You Should Wear Sunscreen Every Day
Many people believe that if they don’t spend a lot of time outside, they don’t need to wear sunscreen every day. This could not be further from the truth. Sun damage adds up over the years, even if you aren’t outside often or for long periods of time.
UV rays are still present on cloudy days, so even if you live in an area that doesn’t get much sun, you are still exposed. These rays can even penetrate windows, so wearing sunscreen indoors is just as important as wearing it outdoors. Your clothes offer a good first layer of protection when you are inside, but you will want to apply sunscreen to exposed skin, such as your face, neck, and shoulders.
Choosing the Best Sunscreen
It is important to choose a daily sunscreen that will give you the highest level of protection. You will want to make sure to find a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. This means that it protects against UVA and UVB rays.
All sunscreens offer protection against UVB rays, but only those labeled “broad-spectrum” protect against UVA. Both UVB and UVA rays affect your skin differently, but they can both cause damage that leads to skin cancer. Windows do not block UVA rays, so this is why broad-spectrum products are so important.
For daily use, you should opt for SPF 15 or higher. If you will be in the sun, then SPF 30 or higher should do the trick.
Incorporating Sunscreen Into Your Daily Life
The best way to incorporate sunscreen into your daily life is to add it to your morning skincare routine. Apply sunscreen every morning to your face and neck before your makeup or moisturizer. Some makeup has SPF added, but you typically don’t apply enough in one use to reach the labeled SPF.
If you will be in the sun, then apply sunscreen to your exposed areas of skin at least 30 minutes before heading outside. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours if you will be outside for an extended period of time.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself From the Sun
Wearing sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays. Here are a few things you can do in addition to your daily sunscreen application.
Install Protective Window Film
If you spend a lot of time in the car, then you are exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful rays coming through the windows. One great way to combat this is to tint your car’s windows or install a window film. If you purchase a good-quality film, you can block up to 99% of UV rays trying to make their way into your vehicle.
Wear UV-Protective Clothing
If you are outside often, then you might want to invest in UV-protective clothing. Many products, like these long sleeve UV golf shirts, are made with UPF protection that will keep you safe from the sun when enjoying outdoor activities.
You should also be wearing hats and sunglasses when you can. The skin around your face and neck is extra sensitive to the sun, so hats and sunglasses can give you an extra layer of protection. Look for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays to protect your eyes.
Stay in the Shade
If you have to be outside, then do what you can to stay in the shade as much as possible. Staying in the shade can reduce your exposure to UV radiation by up to 75%.
If you can’t find any good-quality shade, then you can carry an umbrella with you. This will not only protect you from the sun, but it can also keep you cool on those hot summer days.
Keep an Eye on the UV Index
The UV index, or ultraviolet index, measures the level of UV radiation from the sun. The higher the UV, the greater the risk that your skin will become damaged by going outside.
If the UV index is 6 or higher, then you should do what you can to stay out of the sun. If you must be outside, then take all of the proper precautions before exposing yourself to the sun.
Protect Your Skin and Your Future
Wearing sunscreen every day is a small task that can make a huge difference. Applying a high-quality sunscreen each morning can help to prevent damage to your skin as well as premature aging.
If you enjoyed this article, then feel free to check out the rest of our blog for more interesting facts about your health and wellness.