by James Fraksburg
Sunscreens help protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Excessive and unnecessary exposure to sunlight, especially between 10 am to 3 pm, can cause some untoward effects on your skin. Sunburn and premature skin aging are two of the most common. But a scarier effect than those is skin cancer. Now that alone should make you go scrambling for some protection.
Even when the sky is cloudy, or even during winter time, UV radiation can still reach your skin. While it’s true that the amount is not as intense as during summer, still the skin may receive some damage. That’s why you need to protect yourself from this radiation, even during brief exposure to the sun.
A sunscreen may come in different forms, depending on where it is used and what it is used for. There are lotions, ointments, gels and sprays. But then there are also those sold as salves or sticks for use on the lips, eyelids and nose. Plus they also come in waterproof variants, which is good for use in and around water, such as at the beach.
When purchasing one for yourself, it’s important to take note of the SPF. SPF means “sun protection factor” and a number is written after it. For example: SPF 30 or SPF 50. Such indicates the degree of sunburn protection the item provides your skin with. The higher the SPF level, the greater shielding it provides against UV rays.
To get the most protection possible, skin care experts recommend application of sunscreen about 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. The reason behind this is to allow for the chemicals it contains to set on your skin well. Apply it liberally on exposed parts of the skin. If you don’t apply it liberally, you will not achieve maximum protection from harmful effects of the sun.
Also, don’t expect for it to keep your skin from UV rays all day long. For prolonged exposure to the sun, it’s advisable to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. This is because it naturally wears off, not to mention stuff like sweating or using a handkerchief. The same is true with waterproof ones – they should be reapplied after a specific period of time.
There are other ingredients that come with your purchased sunscreen. And some people may have untoward skin reactions to them when exposed to the sun. Try applying your purchased product to a small section of skin first, then expose it under the sun. If redness or itching occurs, you should try using a different product.
Aside from applying sunscreen, there are also other ways to protect your skin from UV radiation. You can wear dark sunglasses, a sun visor or wide-brimmed hat to protect your face. For your arms and legs, put on long-sleeved shirts and long skirts or pants. Using an umbrella is also a good idea.
Minimizing or restricting exposure to intense sunlight still is the best step to take. However, if that’s not possible, apply sunscreen. By using sunscreens, you can protect your skin from premature aging and getting sunburned. And more importantly, you will minimize your risk for getting skin cancer.