The golden rule of sun care practice is to avoid getting too much harmful ultraviolet radiation with protective clothing, shade, and limited duration of exposure.
Wearing light-colored clothes and covering skin will always be better than wearing sunscreen.
A good pair of sunglasses can protect the eyes from ultraviolet radiation that can eventually cause cataracts.
Hats with extra-large brims are a plus when it comes to protecting the head and face from the sun. Among hats, baseball caps are the least likely to succeed in sun care.
Using shade while enjoying the outdoors, such as a canopy, umbrella, tent, and trees can minimize harmful rays from reaching the skin.
The best time of the day to take advantage of the best source of vitamin D, the sun, is around midday, but only for 10 to 15 minutes.
When it comes to avoiding sun damage, the best time to do long-term, outdoor activities are mornings and evenings.
Overexposure of sun rays results in red, burnt skin, sores or blisters, and skin peeling, which harms the skin’s health, increasing the risk for skin cancer.
For full protection, make sure to use broad-spectrum sunscreen, since only these types of sunscreen will protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
Sunscreens have revolutionized since the ‘70s and, today, some of the safest and most popular ones are mineral ultraviolet filters, as opposed to the chemical ones.
Making sure to reapply 15 to 30 SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen is key. Higher SPF does not mean to apply less sunscreen or less frequently.
Keep in mind that making the perfect sunscreen has not been an easy task. Make sure to keep the choice of product simple and avoid combination products, such as sunscreens with bug repellant. Remember that sunscreen must be re-applied more often than most products, so buy them separately.
Some sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate (retinol), also known as vitamin A, and, although important for health, it should be consumed and not applied to the skin, due to contradicting studies of its safety.
According to the Environmental Working Group, avoiding sunscreens that have a combination of mostly chemical filters like oxybenzone, an estrogen mimicker, is the safest bet.
Studies show that men have less of a photoprotective routine than women. Safe sun care practices are not a lady’s thing. Men should protect their skin just as much as women do.
Sun care routines for children should be intensified in comparison to adults because their skin is more sensitive. During infancy, they lack melanin, which is responsible for the tanning pigment and protects the skin from further damage.
Be extra careful when using sunscreen in spray form, which the FDA has yet to test and standardize. It should go on the skin and not be ingested or, worse, inhaled into the lungs.
Sunscreen comes in different forms. Here are popular suggestions for application:
- Creams: Overall body; good for dry skin and the face area
- Gels: Overall body; works great on hairy areas, like the scalp or male body
- Bar Sticks: For the face, especially around the eyes; easy to apply on children
- Sprays: Overall body; easy to apply but must keep away from the face due to its health risks – not to mention, its flammability.
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“Protecting your Skin. The History of Sunscreen.” Random History. http://www.randomhistory.com/2009/04/28_sunscreen.html.
“Sunscreen: A History.” The New York Times. June 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/fashion/24skinside.html?_r=0.
“The Problem with Vitamin A.” EWG. http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-problem-with-vitamin-a.
“The trouble with Ingredients in Sunscreen.” EWG. http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals.
“UVB therapy vs supplementation for vitamin D deficiency.” Vitamin D Council. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/uvb-therapy-vs-supplementation-for-vitamin-d-deficiency/#.XN3C28hKiUk.