As we all gear up for a weekend in the sun celebrating our country’s independence, don’t forget about keeping your skin safe from sun damage. We all know that sun damage can lead to skin cancer in the long term and some painful burns in the short term. Here are 5 quick sun safety reminders to keep in mind:
(photo credit: Bryan via Flickr)
1. How to Pick a Sunscreen
It’s important to pick a product that provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Generally, an SPF of 30 or greater should be used. SPF 30 means 97% of rays will be blocked. Higher SPFs may block slightly more rays, but it’ll never be 100%.
During the summer, it’s a good idea to use a water-resistant sunscreen so it keeps work even after you sweat, jump in the pool, or dip in the ocean.
2. How to Use Sunscreen
Use enough sunscreen to generously coat all areas of exposed skin. It’s a good idea to take the bottle along in case you are out for more than a couple hours and need to re-apply. Re-apply after getting wet, even with a water-resistant product.
3. Don’t Rely on Sun Exposure for Your Vitamin D
While it’s true that the sun helps our bodies get Vitamin D, which is then necessary for calcium absorption and bone health. Do not get more sun to get more Vitamin D. If your Vitamin D levels are low, then you should increase intake of foods with vitamin D or take supplements. The risk of skin cancer outweighs the benefit of Vitamin D when it comes to sun exposure.
4. Sunscreen Pills
The sunscreen pills contain an active ingredient that may play a role in protecting cells from damage from UV rays. The active ingredient is an extract from a fern plant. We’re not sure exactly how it works, but it appears to serve as an antioxidant that increases the skin’s threshold for sun exposure before sunburn and damage. The benefit is not enough on its own though. The pills don’t have an SPF rating because they are not applied topically, but we think it provides about as much protection as a topical sunscreen with SPF 3 to 5.
Topical sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB rays should still be used. The pills can be used as a supplement for added benefit, but should not be used in place of topical sunblock. Read more about sunscreen pills from A Girl’s Gotta Spa.
5. Cover Up
Keep your skin covered with clothing and hats whenever possible. Stay out of the sun as much as possible — find shade or use an umbrella. Don’t forget sunglasses to protect your eyes too!