Some people think they only need sunscreen when they are going to the beach or are going to be exposed to the sun for a long period of time. Other people know they should be wearing sunscreen every day, but they don’t. Many people only have their sunscreen handy during the summer months, but you need to wear sunscreen everyday whether it’s sunny or cloudy. It is really important to remember to wear your sunscreen every day or you may be putting your skin at risk.
Ultraviolet rays are always present, and they are the cause of sun damage and skin cancer. Ultraviolet rays are not blocked by the clouds so even if the sun isn’t visible, you’re still exposed to ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen blocks these rays and reduces your chances of getting a sunburn. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ for the best chance of being protected from the sun. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect you from UVB rays and UVA rays. You should apply sunscreen all over your body and not just your face.
Aging and wrinkles can be due to excessive exposure to the sun. Years of sun damage will cause you to get wrinkles and look older than you really are. The Skin Care Foundation estimates that 90 percent of aging comes from the hours you spent in the sun. Wearing sunscreen daily saves you from years of visible damage later. Sunscreen protects every skin type.
If you have a darker complexion, the melanin in your skin offers some protection from sunburns, but you still need to protect your skin from those harmful ultraviolet rays. People with fair skin are more likely to develop skin cancer due to sun exposure, but people with darker skin are at risk of more serious kinds of skin cancer. Therefore, everyone should wear sunscreen every day, no matter your skin tone.
You may think the damaging effects of a sunburn go away once the redness fades, but that is not the case. Ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin deep into its layers, where cells can be damaged and even killed. Sunburn is the skin’s reaction to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. You can see sunlight or feel heat, but you can’t see or feel UV radiation. Sunburn is a radiation burn to the skin. The long terms effects of sunburn won’t just leave you with wrinkles but also the risk of skin cancer. This includes melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
Melanoma develops in the cells that produce melanin. Melanoma can develop anywhere on your body. It most often develop in areas that have had exposure to the sun, such as your back, legs, arms, and face. Melanomas can also occur in areas that don’t receive much sun exposure, such as the soles of your feet, palms of your hands and fingernail beds. These hidden melanomas are more common in people with darker skin, which is why you should wear sunscreen everyday no matter your skin type.
Besides just wearing sunscreen every day, here are some other ways you can prevent your risk of skin cancer and aging appearance:
- Wear protective clothing along with your sunscreen. Try to cover your arms and legs as best as you can. Also, wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm. Avoiding the sun at its strongest helps prevent sunburns that cause skin damage.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds increase your risk of skin cancer.
- Become familiar with your skin so you notice changes. Examine your skin often for new skin growths in existing moles, freckles, bumps, and birthmarks.
Hopefully, you are now convinced to wear sunscreen year-round. Protecting yourself from harmful ultraviolet rays should always be your priority. It may seem like an inconvenience to worry about your exposure to the sun every day, but in the long run it will all be worth it. Dr. Kurzman has his very own broad spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 50+ and he can recommend the perfect skincare regimen just for you. Enjoy the outdoors, but don’t forget your sunscreen!