Sunscreen protects against UV rays, helping to minimize skin damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Use sunscreen every day, and always apply a broad-spectrum product.
Other important prevention tips include seeking shade, wearing protective clothing like lightweight and long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV protection. Glen Ivy skin care experts share their top tips for practicing sun safety.
1. Wear Sunscreen Every Day
It’s a no-brainer to slather on sunscreen before heading to the beach or pool during the summer months. But what about the other days?
Many people incorrectly assume they don’t need sun protection if it’s cloudy or if they spend most of their day inside. However, 80% of UV rays can penetrate glass and reach the skin even on cloudy days.
Wearing sunscreen daily is one of the most important things you can do for your skin. It helps limit the danger of overexposure and limits premature aging signs like wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. It also protects against melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma – all types of skin cancer. To learn more, Glen Ivy’s in-house skin care expert, Esthetician Master Trainer Courtney Dunford Morenz, shares her top tips for daily sunscreen use:.
2. Wear Sunglasses
People wear sunglasses to shield themselves from sun glare and to avoid the harmful UV radiation that is found in sunlight. Just like your skin, the eyes are vulnerable to UV rays and protecting them is important in order to prevent long term eye damage such as cataracts or macular degeneration.
Ensure you have a good pair of sunglasses that offer UV protection and look stylish. It is a great idea to purchase a pair of wrap around sunglasses that cover your ears and the back of your neck for maximum protection. You should also make sure the sunglasses you buy are labeled with UVA and UVB protection. Just like sunscreen, sunglasses aren’t an all-in-one force field and should be paired with other sun safety measures including wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
3. Wear Sun-Safe Clothing
A great sunscreen is important, but clothing can provide additional sun protection as well. The trick is to look for clothes that have a UPF rating on the label, which indicates how much UV radiation can be blocked by the fabric.
Typically, dark colors offer more UV protection than light ones, as the dyes in them help to absorb ultraviolet rays. Also, tightly woven fabrics offer more protection than loosely woven ones.
Clothing that has been treated with a special chemical to have a UPF rating will be labeled as such, and can be purchased at some outdoor stores. Just like sunscreen, it’s best to use clothing, a hat and sunglasses together for complete sun safety. Seek shade, wear the right clothing and lather on the sunscreen – and remember to reapply it often.
4. Wear a Hat
When used in conjunction with sunglasses and sun-safe clothing, hats can provide effective sun protection for the head, ears, face and neck. Hats with wide brims like bucket hats and legionnaire-style hats are more effective than baseball caps.
Sun damage to the skin on the head, face and neck is one of the most common causes of wrinkles. It can also lead to cancer (basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma) if left untreated.
In addition to protecting the skin, a sun hat can also reduce the amount of squinting you do when you are outside which helps prevent wrinkles around the eyes. Look for a hat that is made from a thick material that lets in very little direct UV rays. Some straw ones allow a lot of UV through which defeats the purpose.
5. Stay in the Shade
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that seeking shade, wearing sun-safe clothing including a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants and a wide-brimmed hat, and using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher are the most effective preventive behaviors to minimize skin cancer risk.
Shade structures like trees and awnings provide some protection, but the sun rises, sets, and moves across the sky, so these shade structures will need to be repositioned throughout the day to offer optimal coverage.
In addition, the depletion of our planet’s ozone layer means UV radiation can be reflected off water, sand and concrete, increasing exposure. Sunburn decreases the body’s ability to vent and cool itself, resulting in heat exhaustion and potentially dangerous conditions such as sunstroke. Spending time in the shade can also help you avoid uneven skin discoloration that occurs as we age, known as sun spots and liver spots.