Summer is here! To many, that means more lounging poolside, trips to the beach, and backdoor barbecues. It means longer days and more fun in the sun. But as we welcome the sun’s presence with a smile, we should also welcome essential pieces of sun protection advice into our daily summer routine.
If you haven’t heard it enough, wear sunscreen!
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the US than all other cancers combined and approximately one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70. A common cause is exposure to UV radiation from sunlight. But let’s be real, it’s hard not to be outside enjoying a warm, sunny day. You can try to minimize midday sun exposure (10am to 4pm) by wearing protective garments like hats and sunglasses. But wearing sunscreen daily, especially on parts of the skin that cannot be fully protected by gear, is crucial.
What to look for in a sunscreen
Dermatologists recommend using sunscreens that are water-resistant and have a broad-spectrum formula (protects against UVA/UVB rays). It is also recommended to use SPF 30 or higher. An SPF of 30 filters roughly 96.7% of UV rays, meaning 3.3% can still reach the skin. An SPF of 60 filters 98.3% of UV rays, permitting 1.7% to penetrate. You may have heard that the different SPF numbers all work practically the same, but seemingly small differences can be hugely impactful when it comes to skin protection. Along with choosing a sunscreen with an adequate SPF, be sure to apply it 15 minutes before going outside and re-apply evenly every 2 hours since it is likely to wear off throughout the day.
Spray or Lotion?
This seems to be one of the most frequently asked sun protection questions. It’s hard to definitively say which one reigns supreme, but many researchers tend to lean more towards lotions because most people who use spray only apply for roughly 2-3 seconds on each area. Though you may think you’re hitting all the necessary spots, this is approximately only a quarter of the protection you need to achieve the level of protection specified by your bottle’s SPF. It’s much easier to judge how much sunscreen you’re actually using when you can visibly see a blob of lotion in the palm of your hand. You can clearly think, that’s a lot or yep, definitely not enough. It’s ultimately up to you, however, to decide how committed you can be to effectively applying your sunscreen (whether it’s spray or lotion). If you’re not sure what to buy, check out these top-rated dermatologist approved brands of 2019:
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive SPF 30+
- Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen with SPF 70
- Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40
- Cerave 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
- Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50
- Banana Boat SunComfort Sunscreen SPF 50+
- Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+
We love the summer sun, but we should love our skin just as much, if not more! Don’t neglect protecting your skin in hopes of getting tanner. Being a little bronzer during the summer months might seem desirable, but wrinkles, sun spots, and pigmentation are certainly not. Be mindful of premature skin aging and potential health risks associated with sun exposure. Realize that you can still fully enjoy the summer sun while taking smart, preventative measures. So smile next time you lather on your new, sweet-scented sunscreen because safe is savvy!