Our favorite tips on how to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun this summer (and year-round!).
Apply sunscreen before getting dressed. Applying your SPF before getting dressed each morning will allow you a more complete and even application instead of having to work around your clothing. Sunscreen also takes about 20 minutes to sink into the skin and be at peak efficacy against harmful UV rays, so the earlier the application before heading out, the better!
Select and broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or above. Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 blocks 97 percent of the sun's UVB rays. The sun emits two types of radiation: UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays contribute to the signs of aging in the skin, like wrinkles and sagging. UVB rays are more carcinogenic and often responsible for sunburns. UVA rays also make UVB rays more reactive, so combined, the two can be dangerous. You’re exposed to harmful radiation from the sun virtually anytime you’re outside or near a window that has sunshine. That radiation has an effect on your skin even if you aren’t prone to sunburns. SPF works by extending your skin’s natural defenses against the sun’s rays. For example, an SPF of 15 provides about 15 times more protection than just your normal skin without sunscreen. An SPF of 50, then, would provide 50 times more protection than skin without sunscreen. Choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen means it’s a type of sunscreen that will block out both UVA and UVB rays.
Make your sunscreen do double duty! We love recommending Skin Medica’s Total Defense and Repair sunscreen to patients. Not only does it provide an SPF of 34, but it’s loaded with extra anti-aging benefits. You’re already putting the product on every day, so invest in sunscreen that goes beyond UV protection.
Our Final Tips
Never rely solely on makeup with SPF. While it may be tempting to skip the sunscreen step in your morning routine when the letters "SPF" are written on every other bottle you're picking up, don't give in. Makeup products do not provide enough sun protection as a traditional sunscreen.
Make sure to check the expiration date on your sunscreen. Expired sunscreen should never be used. The active ingredients in sunscreens can lose their potency, so check the expiration date!
Limit your time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.