Daydreaming about a fun-filled trip to the beach rarely involves you wearing a head-to-toe UV protective suit. Which is why sunscreen plays a vital part in helping us achieve some skin protection while preventing skin cancer. Here are a few tips to consider at your next sunscreen application.
Sunscreen should be the last part of your morning skin care ritual before you put on your makeup. About a teaspoon is the daily recommendation for the face and ears, and another teaspoon for the neck and décolleté.
Even though you are diligent about wearing sunscreen daily, there are a few variables to consider in your day-to-day activities.
Multitasking moisturizers and makeup with an SPF rating are convenient, but deliver sub-par protection from UV radiation. Application of these products is not placing the recommended dose of sunscreen on your skin.
The more sun exposure your skin is subjected to, the faster your sunscreen can break-down and become ineffective. If you're working indoors with minimal exposure to the sun, a morning application should be sufficient to last you throughout the day.
Work areas with large windows may need a sunscreen boost in the afternoon. UVA rays can penetrate through glass (this includes car windows and office windows) and contribute to a break down of sunscreen.
Outdoor activities or occupations require a regular re-application of sunscreen every 2 hours for optimal protection. Exposure to water or sweat can also deplete sunscreen doses - even water-resistant ones. Reapply a water-resistant sunscreen every 40 minutes to one-hour as recommended by the manufacturer.
Your face is not the only skin subjected to sun exposure. These areas are generally forgotten about until you wake up one morning and realize you have a new wrinkle, age spot, or discoloration on your skin.
- Neck & Décolleté
- Arms & Hands
- Top of Head, Lips & Ears
- Lower Legs & Feet
Do you apply sunscreen to these areas every day? Most of us don't.
The neck and chest area are subjected to UV exposure on a daily basis and are prone to poikiloderma, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, laxity, lines and wrinkles. Taking your everyday skin care regimen (including sunscreen) and following it down your neckline can help prevent sun damage and improve the look of the skin.
Early signs of aging, including age spots, laxity, and thinning skin are also prevalent on the hands and arms, and can become a growing concern as we age. Protect these areas with sunscreen.
ENHANCED PROTECTION OUTDOORS
Sunscreen paired with protective clothing and shade is the most comprehensive way to practice safe suncare habits - especially if you're outdoors for an extended period of time.
Opt for Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rated clothing. Scientists have measured how much UVA and UVB penetrates different types of fabrics and some clothing manufacturers have created specialty fabrics with sun resistance. To give you a point of reference, a regular white cotton t-shirt has an UPF rating of about 5 while a specialty UPF fabric has a rating of 15, meaning the UPF fabric is blocking 93% of UV rays.
Wear a hat and sunglasses to further enhance your protection from UV rays. A hat helps protect the top of your head and shade your face and ears from UV rays, while sunglasses help prevent cataracts that may be caused or influenced by sun exposure.
The skies may be overcast or grey, but UV is still around. Check your weather forecast for the daily UV Index Rating and protect yourself accordingly.
UV levels can increase around 4% with each 300 meter altitude increase. UV rays can be reflected or scattered by snow, ice and sand. Suncare measures are important in all types of environments and geographical regions.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. Educate yourself and your children on healthy skin care practices, and exercise ideal suncare habits that will help prevent premature aging of your skin and skin cancer.