When doing anything outside, it’s a good idea to wear sunscreen, especially when you’re a ginger like my boys and I. We sunburn easily so it’s good to always be protected. My dermatologist even recommended I wear sunscreen even when I’m just running errands.
So it’s not just about wearing it to go to the beach, park, or just planning to be outside all day. It’s important to always be protected. And then it’s not just about getting sunburns, there’s more at stake than that, there’s skin cancer as well.
Studies show that some sun exposure is fine – healthy, in fact. Evidence points to 10 to 20 minutes of sun exposure as a healthy amount. But beyond that limit, sunburn and premature aging can result.
What can you do to protect your skin? After all, you're bound to be outside longer than 10 or 20 minutes.
Here are the top five tips for protecting your skin all year round:
Should you bring sunscreen? It's a common question that many of us consider before walking out the door on a sunny day. Rather than trying to figure out if you should or shouldn't, if there will be clouds or shade or not, etc., just follow this key tip: if you know you will be outdoors for more than a half an hour, wear (or bring) sunscreen.
Another helpful tip is to get travel-sized sunscreen bottles, so you can slip them in a purse or pocket. That way, if you decide you need sunscreen after 30 minutes, you have it handy, and if you put on sunscreen before leaving the house, you have some more to put on after the first application wears out.
2. Wear a Hat
A wide-brimmed hat helps shield your face and even your back and shoulders from direct sun. If you have thin hair, a hat helps protect the top of your head, too. Choose a hat that is thin and allows air to circulate, such as straw or thin cotton material.
3. Search for Shade
If you have a choice, stay in the shade. You still benefit from the fresh air and the outdoors, but you won't have the sun beating down on you. Even dappled shade is better than no shade.
4. Wear the Right Clothing
When it's hot, you want to have as little clothing on as possible. But there's a place for loose clothing in protecting your skin. Some clothes actually have UV protection as part of the fabric, and these are great for covering shoulders and legs. Loose clothes also help shade your skin while providing circulation. Look for densely-woven fabric that is thin.
5. Choose the Right Sunscreen
Another word about sunscreen – it's not as simple as it used to be. We know now that both UVB and UVA rays can damage skin, so for total protection, look for a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum. Most sunscreens' SPF rating is based on UVB protection. Experts recommend looking at ingredients like ecamsule, oxybenzone, and titanium dioxide because these ingredients help protect against UVA.
Taking a few simple precautions can make a big difference in protecting your skin.