Six Tips to Prevent Sun Damage to Your Skin
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 90 percent of the visible skin changes that most people attribute to aging are actually caused by the sun
. So before you spend the day lying out on the beach, try these six tips to help prevent sun damage to your skin.
- Cover up
What you wear in the sun makes a difference. Before you spend time outdoors, make sure to grab a broad-brimmed hat, UV-blocking sunglasses, and clothing made of tightly woven materials. Try wearing dark or bright colors (like orange or red), which offer better sun protection than pale colored clothing.
- Check your skin
Everyone should have a yearly skin exam with a dermatologist to detect skin changes. But don't rely soley on your doctor, perform monthly skin checks on yourself to look for suspicious changes.
- Avoid tanning beds
Want to get a quick tan? Tanning salons are attracting many new customers, especially teens, but the truth is indoor tanning is dangerous for your skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, those who make just four visits to a tanning salon per year can increase their risk for melanoma by 11 percent, and their risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma by 15 percent.
- Be aware of photosensitvity
No, we're not talking about your aversion to having your photo taken. Photosensitivity is an increased sensitivity to UV rays caused by certain medications and medical conditions. If you are experiencing photosensitivity, you will need to take extra care to prevent sun damage. Talk with your doctor if you think your medications may be causing you to experience photosensitivity.
- Wear sunscreen
While no sunscreen can block all ultraviolet (UV) rays, using SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 or higher will help protect your skin from sun damage. So what is the difference between different levels of SPF? SPF 15 filters out about 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent, and SPF 50 keeps out about 98 percent. Remember, no matter what the bottle says you should reapply sunscreen every two hours, and more often if you are swimming or sweating.
- Don’t let the weather fool you
As much as 80 percent of UV rays can penetrate clouds, exposing your skin to the suns rays. Wear sunscreen even on cloudy or cold days.