May 22, 2013
It’s that time again. Summer is almost here with rising temperatures and long sunny days so don’t forget the sunscreen. Skin damage from sunlight builds up with continued exposure, whether sunburn occurs or not. Think: wrinkles, sagging, spots and lines.
Sunburn occurs when the amount of exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light source exceeds the ability of the body’s protective pigment, melanin, to protect the skin. But whether you burn or not –the proteins in your skin are getting cooked. So find a good sunscreen, use it regularly, and your skin will thank you.
Here’s a quick “need to know” list for protecting your skin in the sun.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:
Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays).
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or greater.
A sunscreen that offers the above helps to protect your skin from sunburn, early skin aging, and skin cancer. However, sunscreen alone cannot fully protect you. To protect your skin and find skin cancer early, dermatologists recommend the following:
Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply approximately every two hours or as indicated on the label, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Seek shade.
Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
**As of December 2012, sunscreen labels will provide you with more information about what type of UV protection a sunscreen offers, and what a sunscreen can do.
On the label, you’ll see whether the sunscreen:
Is Broad Spectrum, which means the sunscreen protects against UVB and UVA rays and helps prevent skin cancer and sunburn
Has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. While SPF 15 is the FDA's minimum recommendation for protection against skin cancer and sunburn, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Has a Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert in the Drug Facts section of the label, which means the sunscreen will only prevent sunburn and will not reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
Is Water Resistant up to 40 minutes or 80 minutes, which means the sunscreen provides protection while swimming or sweating up to the time listed on the label.
Sunscreen manufacturers now are banned from claiming that a sunscreen is "waterproof" or "sweat proof," as the FDA has determined that those terms are misleading.