We all have felt that moment when the sun comes out from behind the clouds and the warmth on our skin turns our outlook a bit brighter. Strolling through town, people start smiling without even realizing it, maybe even adding a little skip to their step. Spring is here!
As the fine weather sets in and we spend more time outdoors, moderate sunlight exposure has benefits—it helps our skin make vitamin D, aids in lowering blood pressure, and may improve sleep quality. The sun is essential to our wellbeing, but too much of a good thing can harm our largest organ, our skin. Sun damage is a contributor to premature aging, skin cancer, and other skin-related problems. Therefore, it’s crucial to take care of your skin and protect it from sun damage.
The harmful UV rays can penetrate deep into the skin and cause a range of problems, such as sunburn, dryness, dark spots, wrinkles, fine lines, and even skin cancer. If we think in terms of moderation, we can help keep our skin safe. Follow these tips to protect your skin from harmful UV rays:
1. Use sunscreen. Sunscreen is the most effective way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher, preferably with a mineral base. It’s best to apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
2. Wear protective clothing. Clothing adds a layer of protection for your skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats to cover your skin from the sun’s rays. Some clothing even has built-in UV protection.
3. Seek shade. Stay in the shade when the sun is at its peak, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. And don’t forget to shade your eyes with UV protective sunglasses.
4. Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit harmful UV rays that can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.
5. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help keep your skin hydrated, and it’s essential for maintaining healthy skin.
6. Use after-sun products. If you get sunburned, use after-sun products that can help soothe your skin and reduce inflammation. Look for products that contain pure aloe vera, which has a cooling effect on the skin. Avoid skin products containing alcohol, as that can further irritate the skin.
7. Perform a skin self-exam regularly. Skin cancer is the cancer you can see. Regularly check your skin for any changes, such as new moles or dark spots. There are several mobile apps that have features such as automated reminders, magnifiers, and mole trackers. If you notice any changes, see a dermatologist to have them examined.
Enjoy the sun safely and show your skin some love this season! By taking the necessary steps to protect your skin, you can maintain healthy skin while reducing your risk of sun damage.