Summer is quickly approaching and it’s time for us to get our game plan together for skin protection. It only takes one burn to cause visible damage and we’ve all seen those people who look like leather bags after years of sun exposure even if they “don’t burn”. I’m a Florida girl myself and I love a bronze body, but I also know where to draw the faux-tan line in the sand. Nowadays, you don’t need harmful rays to get that glow, so don’t even use that as an excuse! It’s time for us to pick up the sunscreen and prepare for many long days at the beach.
What most consumers don’t realize is that the SPF number is not as different as it may seem. Think SPF 30 blocks twice as much as SPF 15? Think again. SPF refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are more closely linked to deeper skin damage. Both UVA and UVB contribute to the risk of skin cancer. An SPF 15 blocks about 94% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 45 and higher block about 98% of rays. Anything above SPF 45 is kind of a joke. SPF 70 may sound better but it hardly does any more then SPF 30. Bringing along a wide-brimmed, shady hat, sunglasses with UV protection, or a cute cover-up is a great way to protect yourself from further damage and they’re very stylish right now.
Most people who do wear sunscreen don’t wear enough. You should be using at least a teaspoon on your face and neck. It’s also best to start on the outside of your face and work your way in to avoid missing any areas. Pay extra attention to your nose because it sticks out and tends to receive the most damage. To cover your body, you should use at least a full ounce. Many companies also offer an aerosol SPF product but these have a thinner consistency, so be sure to spritz generously. If you are a jetsetter and can’t get through security with a bottle of SPF, try Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Powerful Sun Protection Daily Sunscreen Towelettes SPF 30 for $18. There really is no excuse anymore to not carry sunscreen at all times. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, but it’s easy to forget while you’re enjoying the day. That’s why Coppertone created an app called MyUV Alert that tells you when it’s time to reapply and gives you the current UV rating in your area, so you know how harmful the rays are.
For the most success with your sunscreen, be sure to apply it at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. It needs time to absorb into your skin and activate before reaching maximum effectiveness. Also, don’t forget about lips and eyes! These places hold the most sensitive skin on your face and we often leave them completely susceptible to burning rays. Many chap-sticks now provide an SPF and are inexpensive. You don’t want to put normal sunscreen on your lips if you can help it because you might accidentally lick if off and trust me on this one, it doesn’t taste good. You can put your normal sunscreen around your eyes but if you fear that it may irritate, try a stay-put stick like Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Targeted Defense Stick SPF 50 for $20.
The most important part is that you respect yourself enough to protect yourself. We are each so special and unique and we have to learn to protect our bodies’ natural resources because once they’re damaged, we can’t get them back.