Even though the sun can do damage at any time of the year, the spring sun is shining a little brighter, a little longer, and our skin is being more exposed as we’re outside more. Choosing a sunscreen that’s right for your body and your activities will let you enjoy spring free from sun damage, and get into good habits for a summertime routine. For daily skincare, sunscreen can be the difference between health or harm while we’re out enjoying the warming air.
The reasons for using sunscreen include:
Protection from UV rays
Lowering the risk of skin cancer
Combating premature aging
Maintaining an even skin tone
Wrinkles, freckles, skin discoloration, or moles may develop from too much sun exposure. These also might be signs of skin cancer, so if you notice a change after a sunburn or too much time outside, it’s important to have it checked out. Sunscreens are a preventative, but an early intervention is the next best step in avoiding long-term damage.
Sunscreens either have a mineral and chemical base, which protect skin from UV rays in different ways. Mineral formulas create a physical barrier to deflect the light waves, whereas chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin to convert UV radiation into heat. Since mineral products are surface level, they have to be reapplied more frequently, but chemical formulas may irritate some people’s skin. Talking to a dermatologist will help determine your skin type to choose the best type of sunscreen for you.
The way you apply sunscreen matters, and it can be ineffective if you don't apply enough, if it’s not used regularly, not reapplied frequently enough (typically every two hours), or if it’s applied unevenly. In addition to your skin type, the activities you’re doing out in the sun will determine what kind of coverage and what type of formula works for your situation. No matter what we’re doing outside, though, some kind of coverage is necessary for any time spent in the sun.
There are benefits associated with minimal sun exposure, too! Exposing our skin to sunlight activates vitamin D production naturally in our bodies, which contributes to calcium regulation in the bloodstream. Good calcium and mineral metabolism (absorbing enough, getting rid of the excess, and preventing buildup) is essential for bone health, as well as collagen production. Collagen is important for skin elasticity and firmness, as well as muscle and joint health that keep us able to be active and out in the sun.
Sunlight also engages our internal vitamin D production. The amount of sun needed for our bodies to produce benefits will differ by individual, but the general consensus is that for any amount of time in the sun, our skin should be protected. When necessary, vitamin D supplementation is usually recommended to be consumed orally to avoid the risks associated with sun damage.
Skin specialists can’t stress enough the importance of wearing sunscreen regularly to protect from daily UV exposure. Staying out of the sun is an effective way of avoiding UV rays, but we can’t completely avoid going outside. Incorporating a product with an SPF (sun protection factor) into your skincare routine can make this task a regular part of your self-care habits.
Some people’s skin is sensitive to one or another active ingredient in UV blocking products, so check with a dermatologist if you’re unsure about what kind of sunscreen to use. They can help you find a product that works best for your skin type. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how to avoid sun damaged skin this spring!