The warmer months are fast approaching, which means most of us will be spending time soaking up rays after a particularly chilly winter!
And while everyone could do with a nice hefty dose of vitamin D, the sun can mean serious trouble for your skin.
Here’s an alarming fact: More than 90% of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure.
Yes, 90%. Which means we’re not messing around when we say protecting your skin from the damaging rays of the sun is paramount.
What is sunburn?
First off, what even is sunburn? Well, sunburn, even if it’s only mild, is a sign you’ve damaged the DNA in your skin cells by taking in too much UV radiation.
Even if you only get a sunburn every 2 years, you still triple your risk of catching skin cancer.
The first tip for keeping your skin protected from the sun is to dress in a way that will protect your skin ,and this starts with a hat.
You don’t need to make like a Desperate Housewife and wear something prissy, but do try to find a hat that has at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around. That way, areas that are commonly burned--the ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp--are protected.
Read on to find out the 4 best ways to enjoy the sun responsibly so you can while away the hours on the beach or in the park without worrying about it damaging your health!
Incidentally, ball caps are a no-no! While the front and top of your head may be protected, your neck and ears are exposed, and this is where skin cancer often develops.
As for clothing, we know it’s a drag, but the more covered up you are, the better. Loose-fitting clothing made of a close weaved material is ideal, as that way the sun can’t easily penetrate the clothing. And choose dark colors over light, as they generally provide more protection.
Finally, sunglasses! When you’re shopping for shades, check the labels for a pair that blocks 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays, and opt for a pair that wraps around. That way your eyes are protected, as is the delicate skin around your eyes. Sorted!
Stay indoors when it’s hot
Try to limit your exposure to UV light when it’s at its strongest, which is generally between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
Not sure how strong the sun’s rays are? To find out, look at your shadow. If it’s shorter than you are, the sun’s rays are at their strongest and you need to either get inside or cover up!
We wish we didn’t need to mention this one, but even now when there is a clear link between sunbed worshipping and skin cancer, there are still die-hard tanning fans that abuse the beds in order to achieve a deep, dark tan.
Saying no to sunbeds even means saying no to those salons that tell you their sunbed tans are “healthy”. This is 100% baloney; tanning beds use huge amounts of UVA and almost no UVB and can massively increase your risk of skin cancer.
In fact, researchers estimate sunbeds may cause upwards of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year. Yeah, avoiding this one is a no-brainer!
Wear mineral sunscreen!
We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen, but to really protect your skin, make sure you opt for a mineral sunscreen.
If you don’t know the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen, there is a big clue in the names. Chemical sunscreens contain artificial ingredients (often dubious ones) that absorb into the skin--scary--while mineral sunscreen contains natural minerals that sit on top of the skin and manually protect the skin from sun damage.
While mineral sunscreen used to have a reputation for being chalky white and impossible to disguise on the skin, nowadays, top brands have really mastered the art of making mineral sunscreen so it sits invisibly on the skin and physically blocks UV rays with ingredients like titanium oxide and zinc oxide.
One such brand is the excellent Beautycounter, whose range of mineral sunscreens are formulated with non-nano zinc and infused with antioxidant-rich California poppy to nourish your skin while it protects.
These SPF30 mineral sunscreens, which come in the form of a quick-drying non-aerosol spray, a nourishing, lightweight lotion, and a portable sunscreen stick, are perfect for all skins, including people with sensitive skin and small children and babies.
They all provide excellent UVA and UVB protection, as well as protection from blue light.
You may have heard of blue light in reference to computers, smartphones and tablets, but blue light is actually everywhere and is, in fact, a shorter, high energy wavelength that comes from the sun.
When it collides with air molecules, the blue light scatters (Top fact: This is the reason the sky looks blue!)
This light is thought to be damaging to the skin as well as the eyes, so slather on your Beautycounter sunscreen, pop on your sunglasses, then relax and enjoy the sunshine!