Sunlight is a vital component in the production of vitamin D so getting some sun time is usually a great idea. However, overexposure may pose some irreversible risks as well. Unfortunately, there is various contradicting information out there so we are here to help you navigate through these confusing facts.
In excess, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can lead to sunburns and loss of skin elasticity, which in turn can lead to premature aging. Not only that, overexposure to the sun’s harsh UV rays is a risk factor to developing skin cancer and cataracts. So to avoid those uninvited wrinkles and even more so multiple skin diseases, we’ve rounded up a guide to help you protect your skin from the sun.
Tips to protect skin from the sun
- Limit sun time during the period when the sun’s UV rays are the harshest. This is typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- If the sun’s extra intense, put on some hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts, and pants to cover as much skin as possible.
- Regularly apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 at the very least.
- Make it a habit to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours. If you’re sweating significantly or if you’re taking a dip in the pool, apply sunscreen more often.
Sun protection factor (SPF)
You may have heard about SPF one too many times, but what does it really mean? The SPF value on the label of a sunscreen specifies the level of protection it gives against sunburns. Scientifically speaking, this is how much UV radiation it took to induce sunburn while wearing the sunscreen. As a rule of thumb, the higher the SPF value, the greater the sun protection.
One important thing to look for in a sunscreen is the “broad spectrum” label. Essentially, there are two types of UV radiation: UVA and UVB. A broad-spectrum sunscreen has the capability to protect the skin from both types by creating a chemical barrier that either reflects or absorbs the UV rays before posing some major damage to the skin.
Check the expiration date
Always, always check for expiration dates! As per the regulations of the FDA, sunscreens should be labeled with the appropriate expiration dates unless the product was tested to keep its stability for a minimum of three years. So if a sunscreen has no expiration date anywhere on the packaging, it’s safe to assume that the expiry is three years after buying the product.
Make sure to throw away any sunscreen that has passed its expiration date because this means that it can no longer give the full sun protection you need.
The harsh UV radiation is a one-way ticket to premature aging and a handful of skin diseases. Just like what we always say: prevention is always better than cure. Thus, follow the simple steps above to avoid sun-induced skin damage to enjoy healthy and radiant skin.
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