That doesn’t mean you should stop protecting your skin. Even though the days of sitting by the poolside or lounging at the beach are heading behind us, the sun remains harmful. In fact, you might cause more damage to your skin during seasons other than the summer because of general lack of protection initiative.
Why is the sun harmful?
UV rays- the sun simply exudes this type of radiation. UV rays damage the skin. They lead to early aging and even skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the country, and year-round protection of the skin could easily reduce this terrible statistic.
Don’t fall for Mother Nature’s cruel tricks. The sun is always emitting these rays. Always. That means that if the sky is cloudy, you are still exposed to UV rays. If it’s winter and there is snow on the ground, the UV rays reflect off the snow and onto you.
Here’s perhaps the cruelest trick of all: You’re inside. The windows are drawn. The only light comes from a lamp in the corner of the room. However, you are in front of a computer screen. Fun fact: the computer screen emits small amounts of UV light. In other words, there is absolutely no escape, even if you are indoors.
Sunscreen will always be the first answer you hear when it comes to skin protection. However, not all sunscreens were made equal. The SPF number on the sunscreen bottle stands for Sun Protection Factor- this number tells the amount of sunburn protection that sunscreen provides for the typical user. The higher the number, the better. SPF 30 provides approximately 97% protection; SPF 15 provides just over 90% of protection.
Also, sunscreens have different chemicals to provide for the best UV ray protection. When you buy sunscreens, you want to be sure to make sure it has zinc oxide. Zinc oxide provides extensive protection against two different types of UV rays (UVA and UVB).
What else can I do to protect myself?
You probably don’t want to be wearing sunscreen indoors at your office job, a family outing, for a quick errand, etc. That’s understandable. There are other solutions than using a bottle of sunscreen a day.
1. Chapstick with SPF protection. You probably aren’t using sunscreen on your lips, but using this type of chapstick will help you. We recommend this especially for the winter months; your lips are chapped, and snow reflects those UV rays everywhere. It’s typically less than three dollars for a stick of this at your local pharmacy.
2. Sunglasses with UV protection. Just like how sunscreens are not made equal, neither are sunglasses. Make sure you purchase sunglasses that specify that they protect against UV light. Be sure to wear your sunglasses even in the shade. As we’ve said, light reflects off many things and the reflections head straight for your eyes. HEV protection is good too. (HEV is a type of blue that can damage the retinas.) If you ski, snowboard, or swim, the UV rays reflect off the snow and the water- make sure you have the appropriate goggles. Click these links for safety tips about skiing, snowboarding, and swimming.
3. Lotions with SPF. There are certain moisturizers, make-ups, and creams that protect against the sun’s harmful rays. If you utilize these products already and they don’t have UV protection, change the products. Your skin will thank you.
4. Clothes and hats. Some companies specialize in creating clothes that work specially to absorb the harmful rays. If your clothes absorb these rays, your skin does not.
***Some of us like to be tanner than we are naturally. Any change in skin color caused by the sun qualifies as skin damage. It’s far better to protect your skin and use self-tanners. These self-tanners affect only the outermost layer of the skin and do not cause damage. Your skin is your largest organ, be sure to protect it.
We have many other blogs about safety tips that can be viewed by clicking on the links below: