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Shining Light on Sunscreen — How and Why You Should Protect Your Skin

September 5, 2019

 

Fun in the sun is something everyone enjoys, and sunscreen is vital for reducing exposure to the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays. Protecting your skin is a must for preventing future skin damage, and knowing what sunscreen to use and how it preserves the health of your skin will ensure that it will retain its youthful glow for years to come.

What SPF Should I Choose?

Start by identifying what type of skin you have and how sensitive to the sun you are. Choosing the correct SPF for your skin type increases the amount of protection your skin will have according to how fair or sensitive it is. Thus, you will want to start with an SPF of 30 and go up from there. The higher the SPF, the more protection your skin will have from the sun. For fairer skin tones, higher SPFs are better, and darker skin tones should start at an SPF of 30 for proper coverage. Also, SPFs do not interfere with skin coloration if a summer tan is your goal.

How Often Should I Reapply?

As a rule of thumb, sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before you go into the sun for proper absorption into your skin. Reapplication is equally important, so put some more sunscreen on every one to two hours for maximum protection. Also, reapply after swimming or doing physical activities that cause you to perspire more than usual. Staying well covered with sunscreen will reduce the risk of sunburn and other types of damage that occurs with prolonged sun exposure.

How Does it Protect My Skin?

Sunscreen acts as a barrier between your skin and the sun's harmful UVB and UVA rays that can cause skin damage. The light coming from the sun is reflected back to prevent it from penetrating the top layer of your skin, where sunburns and other superficial types of damage can occur. UVA rays penetrate more deeply to the bottom layers of your skin, where more serious types of damage can occur. With long exposure to the sun’s rays, wearing sunscreen can prevent melanoma, skin irritation, and sunburn.

 

Understanding how to protect your skin is the best defense against damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. Making sure to protect your skin by consistently applying sunscreen protects your skin's vitality, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors while retaining your skin's health.