No matter how good that warm sun feels on your skin, you need to remember that too much sun exposure robs your skin of its beauty—and health. That’s why sunscreen is one of the most important weapons in your skin care arsenal.
Sunscreen: A Year Round Beauty Basic
Wearing sunscreen is vital all year round. But sunscreen can be even more important in the summer months. That’s because the sun’s position in the sky changes throughout the year, making the summertime sun more dangerous to healthy skin.
During winter, the sun is lower in the sky. There, the earth’s atmosphere is relatively thick. So, when the sun shines during winter, some of its damaging ultraviolet rays are absorbed into the atmosphere and are not as intense. This doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen during the winter, but you may not need to apply it as much.
In summer, the sun is higher in the sky where the earth’s atmosphere is thinner. So you may be in direct contact with more of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Add to this that longer hours are often spent outdoors during summer, and your risk of skin damage increases.
No matter the season, however, the ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun causes:
- Damage to the skin’s DNA
- A breakdown of the proteins under the skin’s surface responsible for its firmness
- Dark spots and skin discolorations, sometimes called sun spots or liver spots
- A dry, leathery appearance
- Skin cancer
Behold the Powers of Sunscreen
Sunscreen provides a protective barrier that stops ultraviolet rays from reaching the skin. There are two types of ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are responsible for sunburns. Experts believe that even getting one sunburn every couple of years can increase your chances of getting skin cancer up to three times. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays penetrate the skin’s deeper layers and cause more long-term damage.
For maximum protection use a sunscreen with a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 20 to 30. In addition, look for a formula that protects against both UVB and UVA rays. Regardless of the formula, sunscreen needs to be applied daily. It should also be reapplied frequently if you are spending extended time outdoors, engaging in water sports, or perspiring throughout the day.
Skin Care On Top of Sunscreen
In addition to using sunscreen daily, know that the sun’s rays are most intense during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. So, avoiding sun exposure during these peak hours can help to protect your skin. If you must be outdoors, consider covering your skin with clothing. Some clothing even has solutions built into the fiber of the fabric that also provide protection against the ultraviolet rays of the sun. And don’t forget the hat and sunglasses!