Lying by a pool in the heat of summer may feel heavenly, but those UV rays are your biggest skin threat. They age skin faster than any other factor. Here’s how to enjoy summer while keeping your skin looking younger, longer.
- Choose the right sun protection. Sunscreens come in two versions: chemical and physical. Both are highly effective if used correctly. Chemical sunscreens work in the top layer of the skin and trap UV rays before they can do damage. They actually absorb the UV rays and release them as heat. Physical screens sit on top of the skin and block both UVA and UVB rays. When shopping for sunscreen, insist on broad-spectrum sun screens that protect you from both UVA and UVB. SPF or sun protection factor only measures protection against UVB rays. It doesn’t measure protection from more damaging UVA rays
- Never go lower than SPF 30. Dermatologists recommend spf 30 to spf 50. This blocks 99% of UVB rays. Protection from any sunscreen above spf50 is negligible.
- Double up on the application. Most people wear half the sunscreen they should. Which means they are only getting half the protection from the number on the bottle. One top cancer doctor says while on a beach vacation, you should be going through a full bottle of sunscreen each day! Remember to reapply every two hours as well. That is because chemical sunscreens start to break down after 120 minutes.
- Watch for high risk spots. The top of ears, your nose, back of the neck and even toes can be susceptible to skin cancers if not protected. A sun stick is a great way to protect ears and nose.
- Choose your clothing wisely. Different textile types and colours will offer you varying degrees of protection. Dark colours protect better than white. Thicker textiles will shield better. But all clothing loses some protection from UV rays in humid weather.
- Reapply after sports and swimming. Toweling off after a dip in the pool or a beach volleyball game will remove much of the sun protection. Remember to reapply frequently.
- Give moles special attention. Be sure to cover any moles or sun spots with sunscreen. These are particularly vulnerable to strong UV rays. If you notice any change in size or shape, see a dermatologist promptly.