Most of us understand the importance of wearing sunscreen when we are at the beach, at the pool or even just spending time outdoors. But did you know that it is just as important to wear sunscreen every day, even when you are not spending extended amounts of time in the sun?
The harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are cumulative, meaning they add up over time. Just a few minutes of unprotected sun exposure each day can cause long-term damage to your skin, including wrinkles, age spots and an increased risk of skin cancer.
But if you want to keep your skin looking radiant and healthy long-term, you also need to wear sunscreen on a daily basis. Here are the reasons why:
Also known as sunblock or sun cream, sunscreen is a photoprotective topical product that absorbs and reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation to help protect the skin from sunburn and related damage such as skin cancer.
Sunscreen comes in the forms of lotions, sprays, gels, foams and more. Sunscreens contain a number of active ingredients that help prevent the sun’s UV radiation from reaching your skin. These include Physical (mineral) sunscreen ingredients that block and scatter rays before they penetrate the skin and chemical sunscreen ingredients that absorb the rays before they can damage the skin.
Whether it’s sunny, cloudy or even raining, the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through the clouds and cause damage to your skin. In fact, up to 80% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can pass through clouds. You may need sunscreen:
The Skin Cancer Foundation claims that applying sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 reduces your chance of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and your melanoma risk (the deadliest skin cancer) by 50%.
Too much time in the sun will result in sunburn, severe skin reddening and inflammation of the skin. Sunburn is not only painful but linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles and skin cancers. Every sunburn increases the risk of damage and illness. Sunscreen defends against sunburn by absorbing, reflecting or scattering sunlight to protect the skin.
When it comes to developing wrinkles, fine lines and crow’s feet, one of the most effective preventative formulas is sunscreen. With approximately up to 90% of visible signs of ageing caused by sun damage, wearing sunscreen on a daily basis can help to keep your skin looking younger for longer.
Much like wrinkles and fine lines, extended sun exposure and sun damage can lead to blotchy, discoloured skin. This refers to the discolouration or darkening of the skin in an inconsistent way. Blotchy skin or dark spots may spring up on the face, hands and other parts of the body regularly exposed to the sun.
SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
The SPF number on a sunscreen indicates how long you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned when using that product compared to how long you could stay in the sun without wearing any sunscreen.
This is highly dependent of a number of individual factors such as skin type, the climate you live in and how much sun exposure you typically get.
However, if you are inside with just short intervals in the sun, you can use a sunscreen or cosmetic product with an SPF of 15 or higher.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially when and where the sun is strongest, you need an SPF 30 or higher, water-resistant sunscreen.
It is important to remember that no matter the SPF, regular reapplication is key. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if you are sweating or swimming.
Most skin experts recommend that you should be wearing a layer of sunscreen every day, whether you are indoors or outdoors, and no matter the weather conditions. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are getting the most out of your sunscreen:
Broad-spectrum sunscreen means that it will protect your skin against both UVA and UVB rays. This is not only crucial for skin cancer prevention, but also for protecting your face from sun damage and premature skin aging.
Not all sunscreens are created equally and it’s important to find the right sunscreen formula for your skin type. Do you have dry skin that doesn’t do well in the sun? Then you need a sunscreen that doubles as a moisturizer.
If you have oily, acne-prone skin, specific sunscreen for oily skin is recommended as it will be water-based instead of oil-based thus a sunscreen gel is recommended for oily skin. If you have sensitive skin that is prone to irritation, be sure to avoid products with alcohol, preservatives, fragrances, and oxybenzone.
This is highly dependent on your personal preference and how much you use. If you have a lot of skin to cover, such as your body, then a spray might be the most convenient. If you are just applying it to your face, then a sunscreen stick or gel might work best as it is less likely to cause irritation around the delicate eye area.
When choosing the best sunscreen, always check the label to see how long the sunscreen will stay effective when you are sweating or swimming. This ensures your skin is protected for longer periods of time.
Wearing sunscreen is a crucial part of living a sun-safe lifestyle. No matter what type of sunscreen you choose, always be sure to apply it generously and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you are sweating or swimming.
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