The weather is nice, your booked vacation is coming up, and the heat is sweltering. Sunny weather is finally here. It is tempting to drop everything and get outside to enjoy the sun. But, more time outside also means more careful skincare is necessary. Consider your skin’s health before heading outside in the sun. Taking care of your skin is an important part of self-care, so here are ten tips to help make sure you can take care of it properly.
Your mother’s warning was correct: You need sunscreen. A mere hour lounging on the beach without sunscreen could cause a painful burn. Wearing sunscreen is essential to prevent sunburns and protect against skin cancer. When purchasing a sunscreen, use one that protects against both harmful UVA and UVB rays to reduce the risk of a burn, cancer and damage. UVA rays cause aging and slowly erode skin over time. A long day at the beach means you also will have to reapply sunscreen. Go for SPF 30 and up, and reapply at least every two hours.
Check the Time
Of course, the frequency of your sunscreen application may depend on what time you are outside. UV rays are the strongest during the middle of the day. If possible, avoid the sun from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The time may vary depending on the activity you have planned and the heat index that day. Not only will you be sweltering hot from the heat, but your skin can also inadvertently suffer. We don’t always see what UVA rays are doing to our skin. Spending too much time outside in the peak UV hours can cause rapid aging and a raised cancer risk.
Avoid Open Water
Swimming outside is a common and fun activity during warm and sunny weather. Unfortunately, UV rays can permeate skin when you are out in the open swimming. Sunscreen should be applied more liberally than the recommended two hours, so drifting too far from shore is not recommended. Keep in mind that the sun also reflects off of water. Be aware of potential sun blinding. Wearing mirrored goggles and reapplying sunscreen can help prevent damage to the eyes as well as skin damage.
During a heatwave, it is tempting to purge any excessive clothing. Bare skin is a risk for sun damage, however. It is important to dress appropriately when you’re exposed to the sun. A large-brimmed hat protects the scalp, face and neck. Breezy cardigans can cover the midriff and arms. If sleeves give you nightmares under the hot sun, try an oversized sundress or maxi dress, and take cover.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Sitting in the shade can have a profound effect on potential skin damage. Avoiding direct sunlight will not only help to protect your skin, but it will also help you feel much cooler. Finding a shaded area underneath a tent or canopy helps the skin by reducing exposure. While seeking a shaded area is a preventive measure against sunburn, remember that UVA rays reflect off of surfaces. Avoiding sunlight is helpful, but sunscreen is still needed to avoid the risk of skin cancer.
Believe it or not, big sunglasses are not just for aesthetics. Taking care of your eyes is an important step for complete sun care. Direct eye contact with the sun can cause permanent eye damage. You are saving your skin by wearing sunglasses too. A bright sunny day without sunglasses can have you squinting to see a few feet in front of you. Constant squinting creates unwanted eye wrinkles down the road. Save your eyesight, skin and sanity by investing in a good pair of sunglasses that also prevents UV-ray damage.
Protect Yourself During Your Daily Routine
It is a lovely idea to imagine spending every sunny day at the beach, but it is not realistic for everyone. Consider your daily commute and working conditions for optimal daily sun care. For example, if you work in an office, you may have never considered wearing sunscreen or protective layers during the day. If your cubicle is right next to a massive window,you need sunscreen. Pesky UV rays will seep into your skin all day, even on cloudy days! A lightweight, moisturizing sunscreen that layers well under makeup is perfect for work.
Check Your Medication
Who would’ve thought that medication you’re taking could inadvertently cause sun damage? If you are taking an antibiotic, it can make you more sensitive to the sun than usual. Even ibuprofen can lower your ability to tolerate the sun. Talk to your doctor about these potential side effects before taking this medication. Take extra precautions to stay inside during peak hours and reapply sunscreen more frequently than typical recommendations if your medication makes you more sensitive to the sun. Protective clothing is a necessity to prevent burns and damage.
Swear Off Tanning
Golden, sun-kissed skin might seem ideal when it’s sunny outside, but make no mistake—a tan is evidence of sun damage. You should not bake in the sun at the beach without sunscreen. Perhaps even more, avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds are literally a hotbed of UVA and UVB rays, causing permanent sun damage. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is a major risk if you are a regular tanner. Please think of your skin’s overall health over trends, and stop tanning immediately. If you absolutely need that golden glow, consider airbrush tanning or self-tanners.
Establish a Good Skin Care Routine
After a long day in the sun, a good skincare routine is essential. After-sun skincare products are available to cool and calm the skin. Look for products with soothing aloe vera if you feel concerned about any slight burns. Invest in a good cleanser to remove all sunscreen from your face because it can clog pores. Moisturize the skin thoroughly to rehydrate after any dryness experienced from the sun.
Preventing sun damage is not easy. Careful planning is necessary to make sure you are not exposed to the sun’s harmful rays during peak hours without protection. While the summer is the optimal time to spend time outside in the sun, keep these tips in mind year-round for ideal sun care. Your skin will thank you years down the road.
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