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Why You Need To Use Sunscreen During the Summer

face sunscreen for UV protection from the sun

After a long cold winter, there’s nothing better than soaking up some glorious sunshine. While a good dose of sunshine is beneficial for the body and mind, it can be incredibly harmful in the long run. Whether you’re lazing at the beach, gardening, or walking the dog, here’s why you need to apply sunscreen.

HOW ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION AFFECTS THE SKIN

The sun's energy and warmth reach us as visible ultraviolet or UV rays. The two main types that affect us are UVA and UVB rays. Our bodies have their own defense mechanism against the harmful effects of the sun. Melanin is a natural pigment in the skin that absorbs dangerous ultraviolet rays. When your skin has received a moderate amount of UV damage, you’ll get a tan due to the protective reaction of melanin. When the sun exposure exceeds the protection melanin can offer, you get sunburnt.

Exposure to the sun's rays over many years can result in a range of skin changes and serious illnesses. UVB rays can cause skin cancer while UVA rays are responsible for loss of skin elasticity, aging, and wrinkles. UVA rays can also increase the harmful effects of the UVB rays in causing skin cancer and cataracts.

Since natural protection is insufficient to protect your skin, especially during the warmest parts of the day, an additional layer of protection is needed. This is where sunscreen saves the day.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING SUNSCREEN

In recent years, the application of sunscreen has been highly promoted by health organizations in an effort to reduce the development of skin cancer, eye damage, and suppression of the immune system.

Even though sunscreen blocks the penetration of UV rays, no product is able to block 100% of the sun's rays. Sunscreen containers or tubes will indicate the level of protection they provide with an ‘SPF’ (sun protection factor) number. The higher the number, the better the protection. It is highly recommended to use a product with an SPF higher than 15 for daily use. If you tend to burn easily, use a product with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Although most sunscreens protect against UVB rays, not all products protect against UVA rays. Look for a product labeled as having broad-spectrum coverage to ensure you are protected from both types.

SUNSCREEN FOR YOUR FACE

Many people use the same sunscreen for their face and body, which is certainly better than not wearing any sunscreen at all. It is, however, recommended that you use a specifically formulated sunscreen for your face.

Face sunscreens are made with gentler ingredients that offer protection for sensitive skin. The skin around your eyes, and especially your eyelids, is the thinnest of the entire body. Besides causing wrinkles, dryness, sagging, loss of elasticity, and accentuated furrows, UV rays can also cause cancer near the eye which can quickly invade the eye.

Many skin care products like BB Creams, CC Creams, and foundations include a protective sunscreen element to ensure the sensitive skin on your face is always protected. However, the protection factor on multi-purpose creams may not be sufficient for a long period out in the sun.

Remember that water, snow, pavement, and sand all reflect UV rays. So even if you’re spending time in the shade or wearing a hat, it’s still advised to keep the family lathered with some quality SPF.

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