The importance of sunscreen and how to select the right one

Few things feel better than stepping outside, taking a deep breath and feeling the warm sun on your skin. But before you do, have you applied sunscreen? No matter the time of year, sun safety should be a priority for you and your family.

While sunlight can provide numerous health benefits, overexposure can lead to sunburns, premature aging and even skin cancer. A good sunscreen used correctly helps provide protection so you can enjoy the outdoors to the fullest.

Why is sunscreen necessary?

Sunscreen acts as a protective shield against harmful ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun. This includes UVA and UVB rays. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, UVB rays are responsible for sunburns and skin cancer and UVA rays are also responsible for skin cancer as well as skin aging.

A sunscreen that is broad spectrum will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. By using adequate sunscreen daily, you can significantly reduce the risk of burns, skin damage and skin cancer like melanoma.

“A sunscreen that is broad spectrum will protect against both UVB and UVA rays.”

How to choose a good sunscreen

Selecting an appropriate sunscreen is crucial to ensure optimal protection. Yet, with so many products available, shopping can be confusing. Follow this checklist to help guide you to the right one:

  • Sun protection factor: Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Skin type: Consider your skin type and sensitivity. If you have fairer skin, you may require a higher SPF and should avoid ingredients that you find irritating.
  • Water resistance: If you will be sweating or swimming outdoors, choose a water-resistant sunscreen to ensure effectiveness.
  • Expiration dates: Always check the expiration date and replace old products, as expired sunscreen loses its effectiveness.

Application and reapplication

Effective application of sunscreen is important for all skin not covered by clothing. Apply sunscreen generously and evenly to all exposed areas of the body, including frequently overlooked areas like the ears, back of the neck and the tops of feet.

Remember to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to absorb into the skin fully. Keep in mind, the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so seek shade when possible and be particularly diligent with sunscreen use during this time.

“Smart tip: Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure so it fully absorbs.”

Sunscreen doesn’t last all day. Reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or excessive sweating. Make sunscreen a part of your daily routine, regardless of the weather or season, for the best protection.

In addition to sunscreen, some other ways to protect yourself from the sun include wearing a hat that shades the face and neck as well as sunglasses. Light clothing or swimsuit coverups that are made with sun-protection material or breathable natural materials like cotton are also beneficial.

Sun safety is a vital concern throughout the year, even on cloudy days. By being proactive, using the right sunscreen and making smart choices, you can protect yourself and your family while enjoying time outdoors.

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