With summer officially underway, it’s likely that your calendar is filling up with plans for beach days, trips to the pool or lake and outdoor parties and BBQs. It’s understandable that you want to take full advantage of the warm weather and beautiful sunshine. However, sun protection is critical during summer activities. Overexposing your skin to the sun is dangerous; not only can it cause a sunburn, it can also lead to the development of premature wrinkles and increase your chance of skin cancer.
As you gear up for your next trip to the beach, pool or park, remember these sun protection tips.
Get the Right Gear
- Sunscreen: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend selecting a sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If you have lighter skin, you should use a product with an SPF of at least 30.
- Wide-brimmed hat: Baseball hats are stylishly sporty, but wide-brimmed hats are better for shading the face, head, ears and neck. Choose a tightly woven fabric like canvas, and avoid straw hats that have tiny holes that let sunlight through. If you do opt for a baseball cap, wear clothing that will protect your ears and the back of your neck, and be sure to apply sunscreen or stay in the shade.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of cataracts and protecting the thin, tender skin. The CDC recommends a wraparound pair that blocks as close to 100 percent of both UVA/UVB rays as possible.
- Clothing: If you’re going for a hike or a walk along the water in the hot sun, wear a loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirt and pants. Keep in mind that dark-colored clothing may offer more sun protection than light-colored clothing, and wet clothing is less effective against UV rays. Some designers make sun protective clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) that only allows a fraction of the sun’s radiation to penetrate the fabric.
Avoid a Sunburn at the Beach
It is especially important to protect your skin if you’re heading to the beach. Dr. Perry Robins, president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, cautions, “The intensity of sun exposure for beach goers is certainly elevated. Both water and sand can reflect up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays, adding to your overall exposure.”
Before you head out for the day, coat yourself with a shot glass worth of sunscreen (your face needs another teaspoon). Apply sunscreen before you put on clothing or bathing suits so you don’t risk missing a spot, and let the product sink in for at least 20 minutes before you go out into the sun. If you don’t plan to wear a hat, coat your scalp and hairline (try a continuous spray product for an easy mist).
Sunscreen eventually wears off and becomes less effective. It should be reapplied every two hours or after you take a dip or work up a sweat. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a half day at the beach requires at least two applications of sunscreen.
Even if you’re fully protected from the sun with sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, it’s still a good idea to take a break from the sun. Seek some shade under an umbrella, tree or patio to give your skin a break.
Remember that the peak hours for hazardous UV exposure are between 9 AM and 3 PM. Try to plan a morning or late afternoon visit to avoid sizzling during peak hours.
Rejuvenate Aging Skin
If you were careless with sun protection in your youth, and have noticed premature signs of aging around your face — such as wrinkles or sun spots — the Plastic Surgery Group offers non-surgical skin rejuvenating treatment, including IPL light therapy treatments. Our medi spa also offers a variety of skin care services that might interest you.
Visit our skin care section for more healthy skin tips, and call us today at (973) 233-1933 to a member of our team about your skin care treatment options.