As soon as the weather starts getting brighter, it’s tempting to run outside and bask in the sunshine while we have it. However, if you want to look after your skin there are some important steps you should take to protect yourself before you step outside.
Why is Sun Protection Important for Your Skin?
Sunlight can have a significant impact on our skin, beyond the obvious effects of causing tanning and sunburn. The UV rays in sunlight can damage our skin and even harm the DNA inside our skin cells. Over time, this can cause issue such as age spots, wrinkles, actinic keratoses, and skin cancer. Although spending some time in the sun can improve our mood and help us to produce enough vitamin D, too much sun can be harmful for our skin.
Protecting Your Skin from Sun Damage
Wearing sunscreen is the best thing that you can do for your skin. It’s best to get into the habit of wearing at least SPF 15 on your face every day, but it is even more important in the summer. You may need to wear a stronger SPF in summer, especially if you have paler skin. Good sunscreens should provide both UVA and UVB protection.
When wearing sun cream, make sure that you apply plenty to all exposed areas (including your hands, ears and feet (if you’re wearing sandals). You can protect your lips with a lip balm that has UV protection. You should put the sun cream on about 15 minutes before you go into the sun. You should then reapply it regularly every couple of hours during the day, especially after swimming or if you’ve been sweating.
If you’re spending a lot of time outside or the sun is very strong then you should also wear:
- A hat with a brim to shade your face and ears.
- Sunglasses to protect your eyes. Make sure that they have good UV protection.
- Clothing that covers your skin. You can buy clothing with UV protection, which is especially useful if you’re swimming, hiking or working outside.
Even when you’re using sunscreen and covering up, it’s still important to avoid spending too long in the sun. Sun protection can only do so much, so try to avoid spending too much time outside between 11am and 3pm when the sun is strong. When you are outside, take regular breaks in the shade to cool off and let your skin recover.
Following this advice should help you to avoid burning. In the long term, it will also reduce the risk of skin cancer and other skin conditions linked to sun damage. You should also be protected against the ageing effects of sun damage, so you might end up with fewer wrinkles as you get older.