The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin, even on cloudy days. UV rays can cause premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots. They can also increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
There are many things you can do to protect your skin from sun damage, including:
- Wear sunscreen every day. Sunscreen is the most important way to protect your skin from sun damage. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and broad-spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Wear protective clothing. When you’re outdoors, wear a hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts and pants. These items will help protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
- Seek shade. When the sun is strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., seek shade whenever possible.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit UV rays, which can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.
How to Choose the Right Sunscreen
When choosing a sunscreen, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- SPF: SPF stands for sun protection factor. The higher the SPF, the more protection your skin will have from the sun’s rays. An SPF of 30 is considered adequate for most people.
- Broad-spectrum: Sunscreen should be broad-spectrum, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots. UVB rays cause sunburn and can increase your risk of skin cancer.
- Water resistance: If you’re going to be swimming or sweating, choose a sunscreen that is water resistant.
- Type: There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and convert them into heat, which is then released from the body. Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays away from the skin.
How to Apply Sunscreen
To apply sunscreen, follow these steps:
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
- Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to your face and neck.
- Apply sunscreen to your ears, lips, and the tops of your feet.
- Let the sunscreen dry completely before applying makeup.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you’re sweating or swimming.
Tips for Protecting Your Skin from Sun Damage Year-Round
In addition to wearing sunscreen, there are other things you can do to protect your skin from sun damage year-round:
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help protect your skin from sun damage.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
- Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep helps your body repair itself and protect itself from sun damage.
- Manage stress. Stress can damage your skin, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress in your life.
By following these tips, you can help protect your skin from sun damage and keep it looking young and healthy for years to come.