How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun and Why It’s Important

Posted July 26, 2021 by in Health + Fitness

There are a number of sun exposure health risks, some more common than others. The most widespread is skin cancer, the most dangerous type of cancer because it can be difficult to detect at an early stage. Skin cancers typically appear on sun-exposed areas such as your face, neck, arms, or hands, but they can also occur in hidden areas like around the eyes or under clothing. 

Other types of sun exposure-related diseases include eye damage (such as cataracts), wrinkles at an earlier age due to sun aging from long years outside without protection, and sunburns that can result in erythema (red skin), moles, swelling, blistering, or peeling. 

Now, below are tips on how to protect your skin from sun exposure:

Wear Sunscreen 

The number one recommended method of sun protection is wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen can be applied in many ways, such as sunscreen lotion or sunscreen spray.

The American Cancer Society recommends a broad-spectrum, water-resistant product with an SPF of 30 or higher so that it’s effective in blocking out most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and protecting your skin from damage caused by sun exposure.  

Apply the lotion or spray evenly for about 30 minutes before going outside to allow it time to fully absorb into your skin. Be sure to reapply every two hours when outdoors because water can wash away some of the protective ingredients after swimming or sweating.

Limit How Long You Stay Outside 

Limit how long you stay outside during peak hours (10 am-4 pm). Try not to be out in the sun between 10 am-2 pm because that’s when the sun’s UVB rays do the most damage.

If outside is unavoidable, try to stay under shade as much as possible. Consider having an awning installed outside. Awnings are great because they shade the majority of your home’s exterior from direct sunlight. Plus, as explained by an awning company in Bergen County, NJ retractable awnings are a popular choice because of their ease of use and ability to adapt to the weather. They act as windbreakers and can offer some protection against other weather conditions, like snow or rain. 

Wear Clothes That Cover Up as Much of Your Body as Possible 

Clothes protect you from the sun’s rays by blocking them, which helps to minimize your skin cancer risk. Wearing clothes that are made out of cotton or other natural fabrics is best because these materials allow air to circulate around your skin so it doesn’t get too hot when trying to stay cool; while keeping it protected at the same time.

Don’t forget about hats! This should be on the top of your list. Hats protect your scalp from getting sunburned, and as a bonus, also provides protection from bugs and other pesky critters that are always trying to ruin everyone’s day—mosquitos….I’m talking about you.

Wear Sunglasses 

Sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s strong UV rays. There are many different types of sunglasses available, and you’ll want to find a pair that suit your needs. The most important factor is UV radiation protection because, without it, your eyes will get sun damage. This is why sunglasses need to be at least 98% of UVA and 99% of UVB radiation-resistant. They also need to be at least CE certified.

You may also want sunglasses with an anti-glare coating if you’re going out on sunny days where there’s a lot of glare from the sky because this will protect your eyes from sunlight reflecting off objects in front of you. They can make it difficult for other drivers to see pedestrians so they’re not recommended while driving but helpful when walking near traffic lights at night. If you wear prescription sunglasses, it’s important to keep them away from the sun because sunglasses can break or shatter more easily and they’re not designed for protection.

Stay Hydrated

Water plays a key role in both water retention and skin hydration. When the body is properly hydrated, it can better function to maintain water balance throughout the day. The water-based substances on your skin will stay moist longer when you have more water within the cells of your body. This also means that any moisture lost from sweat due to being exposed to heat or humidity won’t cause as much damage to your skin’s protective barrier as it would if you were dehydrated.   

Water intake should be increased by at least two additional glasses per day during the summer months, especially for those who take part in outdoor activities such as swimming or gardening. Drinking plenty of water before sun exposure lowers risks for sunburns because well-hydrated skin is better able to resist water loss.

Consider Using a Moisturizer With SPF Protection 

SPF moisturizers can be found in many different brands and types including lotions, gels, creams, or sprays. Moisturizer with SPF protection is typically applied on top of a normal skincare routine to provide an extra layer of UV defense against harmful rays from the sun. 

For those with oily skin, an SPF moisturizer may be a better option than traditional sunscreen because it will help keep the natural oils in your skin from being absorbed by sweat or other environmental factors. If you already have dry skin, then adding a regular cream to your routine can make it even drier and cause problems such as peeling. 

Remember that while it can be tempting to use moisturizers that are marketed as “natural” or nontoxic, they may not provide the same level of sun protection. Avoid products that contain ingredients such as vitamin A; while these additives may offer benefits for your skin in other ways, they will also make you more sensitive to UV rays from the sun.

Protecting your skin from the sun is a crucial step to staying healthy. That’s why it’s important that you use sunscreen, wear clothes that cover up as much of your body as possible and stay hydrated.

To avoid getting too much exposure to sunlight for an extended period of time, limit how long you’re outside or find some shade where you can rest in peace without worrying about the harmful effects of UV rays.

*Photos by Polina Tankilevitch