The Sun and Your Skin

Everybody loves to have fun in the sun when the warm weather months roll around, but all that fun can be detrimental to your health if you don't protect your skin properly. When it comes to the sun and your skin, we cannot say enough about the importance of protection. The good news is that doctors and scientists have spent plenty of time in recent years studying the connection between the sun and your skin, and have produced numerous guidelines to help keep skin safe. This article will explain why the sun can be dangerous and provide important tips for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Sun Hazards

Before discussing how to protect your skin from the sun, it is important to explain the dangerous connection between the sun and your skin. The sun emits powerful UVA and UVB rays that can create a lovely golden tan, but that "healthy" glow is the body's attempt to protect itself from the damage that those rays cause. Sun exposure over the long term can result in signs of aging like wrinkles and even skin cancer. People who are fair-skinned, have many moles and freckles and have a family history of skin cancer are at the highest risk for this type of cancer. However, the sun can damage any skin type, which is why protection is so important.

The Skinny on Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a good first step in protecting skin from the sun, but it must be used properly to be effective. Experts recommend applying approximately a generous amount to exposed areas of the body before heading out into the sun and reapplying every two to three hours. Even waterproof varieties can wear off, and the active ingredients that provide the most protection are usually the substances that disappear first. It is also important to use at least a 30 SPF, which is the minimum amount of protection that most medical professionals recommend. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of the sunscreen can be affected by factors like sweat, water, wind, humidity and even altitude.

Other Protection

Sunscreen isn't the only step to take when guarding against the connection between damage from the sun and your skin. A hat with at least a four-inch brim is also a must, to protect your scalp, face and back of your neck. There is also clothing available now that provides its own sun protection complete with an SPF. If you don't have special clothing for sun protection, garments with a tight weave can also provide adequate protection. In addition, avoiding the sun completely during the hottest part of the day, usually between 11 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, is a wise choice when possible. And don't forget to protect your eyes as well with sunglasses that offer UV ray protection.

Summer is a great time to enjoy the fun and beauty of the outdoors. It can also be a safe season by understanding the connection between the sun and your skin, and taking the appropriate precautions to protect yourself from sun damage.