Tips to Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage
Posted by Staff Orchard Hosp. on July 19, 2018
The sun is a powerful force and too much fun in the sun can lead to serious consequences. Experiencing a sunburn and the pain and peeling that follow is enough to know you want to avoid it ever happening again. It’s easy to remember to slather on the sunscreen during the summer months, but we often forget the importance of intentionally protecting our skin year-round.
The sun itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s one of the main ways we get our vitamin D – known as the sunshine vitamin – which supports a healthy immune system, keeps our bones and teeth healthy, helps regulate insulin levels, and supports lung function and cardiovascular health. However, it's important to be intentional about protecting skin from sun damage.
Why you should protect your skin
Sunburns are painful, but they aren’t the only danger of being in the sun too long. Too much exposure to the sun can lead to heat exhaustion, dry, wrinkly skin; premature aging of the skin; brown or red spots on the skin; and even skin cancer. But these dangers can be easily avoided using the following sun protection tips.
Tips to protect your skin from sun damage
Wear sunscreen every day. This tip is intentionally listed first because it’s the most important! A broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation and has an SPF of 30 or higher is your best protection against the sun.
Pay attention to your surroundings. Surfaces that reflect the rays of the sun – such as water or sand – can increase your chance of getting a sunburn. If you’re spending time around water, sand and even snow, reapply sunscreen more often - once an hour is a good rule of thumb.
Limit sun exposure. The sun’s rays are the most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so it’s important to stay out of direct sunlight during these times.
Avoid tanning. Whether you’re sunbathing in the actual sun or using a tanning booth, you’re still exposing yourself to harmful UVA rays. There’s no such thing as a “healthy tan.”
Understand side effects of medication. Certain medications can cause you to be more sensitive to the sun, including some antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, blood pressure medications, and some types of chemotherapy. If you’re taking medications, make sure you know of any potential sides effects.
What to Do If You’re Concerned
If you’re concerned about a spot on your skin, or anything else out of the ordinary, it’s important to seek the advice of a health professional, such as a dermatologist or your general practitioner. You can also visit your local health care clinic.