Summer days are filled with trips to the beach with friends, lounging by the pool, and endless barbecues outside. While we’ve all found ourselves dreaming about the warmer weather, we have to be mindful of our exposure to the sun. Proper summer sun safety is essential to healthy skin – and it allows us to enjoy our time in the sun guilt-free!
Why Do We Get Sunburns?
The sun emits invisible rays of ultraviolet light. When these UV rays reach our skin, they cause tanning, burning, and other forms of skin damage. Yes, your summer tan is actually a form of skin damage. These rays of UV light come in two forms – UVB and UVA. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are short, high-energy wavelengths that are absorbed by the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. These UVB rays are what cause the redness and pain associated with sunburns. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which are longer than UVB rays, can also do a lot of damage to our bodies. They penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays, affecting the DNA of the cells in the dermis, attacking cell membranes, and changing the proteins that make up collagen and elastin. These rays are what cause skin aging and wrinkling.
According to the American Skin Association, our tanned skin actually contains cells whose genetic structures have been permanently damaged.
Our Top Sun Safety Tips
Out of all the sun safety tips we’re going to include in this post, this one is the most important. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that all kids wear a sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all adults wear a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher. Contrary to popular belief, an extremely high SPF (like SPF 100) doesn’t necessarily mean more protection. In fact, we’d recommend sticking with an SPF of 30 to 50.
Not going to the beach or pool? Still use sunscreen! If you’re outside, then you’re being exposed to UV rays. Regardless of the weather, season (yes, including winter!), or activity, we recommend using sunscreen as part of your daily routine. This doesn’t have to be an added step – choose a facial moisturizer that has an SPF in it. Concerned about sun damage and sun spots? Visit our Facial Page for facials and treatments specifically created to combat aging.
Tip: Remember to apply sunscreen to ears and use a lip balm that has SPF. These areas are often forgotten about, and tend to burn easily.
Reapply, Reapply, Reapply!
Depending on the instructions of your sunscreen, water exposure, and sweat, you’re going to have to reapply sunscreen multiple times throughout the day. Our sun safety recommendation? If you’re at the beach, reapply each time you get out of the water and/or every hour. Even if it’s a cloudy day, UV rays still break through the clouds and reach your skin.
Wear Proper Clothing
Our faces, neck, and décolletage are some of the first areas to show sun damage and aging. Keeping a long sleeved shirt, sunglasses, and a hat in your beach bag are great sun safety essentials. Even if you apply sunscreen diligently, wearing a wide-brimmed hat adds an extra layer of protection for our skin against the harmful UV rays. If you’re spending an extended period of time in the sun (beach day!) give your skin a break by throwing on your long sleeve shirt and lounging under an umbrella for a bit – trust us, your skin will thank you.
For more information on sun safety, please visit the Skin Care Foundation and the American Skin Association’s website.