Protecting Your Skin From Sun Damage

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Summer is in full swing — that wonderful time of year when you can hit the beach, sunbathe near the pool, or take a leisurely bike ride with your children. While there are endless options for outdoor activities during this sunny season, it’s important to make proper skincare top priority. Start good habits today and keep your skin healthy for many more years to come with these SMART tips.

Tip #1: Stay Indoors When The Sun Is Strongest

Avoid staying outside for long periods of time between the hours of 10AM and 4PM, when the sun’s rays are the strongest. While this may put a damper on some planned outdoor activities, you can still choose to do daily things like taking a bike ride or walk in the early morning or late evenings. If you find you cannot avoid being outdoors during this time, try to wear a hat as part of your protection plan.

Tip #2: Make It A Priority To Wear SPF Every Day

Sunscreen is important to use every single day, even when it is overcast outdoors. It’s vital to find a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. While other sunscreens may help protect you against sunburn, they will not protect you against cancer-causing rays. A water-resistant sunscreen is a good choice not only for swimming, but also to help you try to maintain that layer of protection even when you sweat. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours, or every hour if you are swimming.

Tip #3: Always Call Your Doctor If Needed

Check your skin periodically for any strange bumps, moles, or decolorizations. If you notice a spot that concerns you, or a mole that is beginning to change in shape, size, or color, your doctor should evaluate it. In addition to checking your own skin, it is also wise to schedule an annual exam with a dermatologist, just as you would a routine physical. According to the American Cancer Society, this can help detect skin cancers early while they are easier to treat.

Tip #4: Remember To Treat Sunburn Immediately

If you forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, you may find your shoulders, back, or other exposed areas burned. The important thing is to treat sunburn immediately. While you can’t undo the damage, you can re-moisturize it, which is an important component in helping the skin to heal. The right products can also prevent peeling and extend your tan. Dermatologist approved lotions and gels that contain Aloe Vera, vitamin E and cocoa butter can help you to take care of your skin post-sunburn.

Tip #5: Take Precautions To Cover Your Skin Properly

If you plan on being out in the sun for a long period of time, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat. Dark clothing with tightly woven fabric blocks sun rays better than white and loosely woven clothing. Clothing designed with sun-protective materials is also a great option.

In addition to the above-mentioned SMART tips, drinking water throughout the day is also important in order to remain hydrated. Carry a water bottle around with you everywhere you go. While you may want to treat yourself to the occasional cola or beer, be mindful that caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate you even more. Start good habits and a healthy summer skin care regimen now to keep yourself looking and feeling younger for many more summers to come!


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