Most people understand the importance of wearing sunscreen during the summer, but many don’t wear sunscreen on a regular basis. The truth is, even on overcast, cloudy days, sunscreen protects the skin from exposure to damaging UV rays.
For maximum effectiveness, sunscreen should be applied around 30 minutes before exposing the skin to the sun. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of daily sunscreen use.
Why You Should Use Sunscreen Every Day
An estimated 80% of sun rays are able to penetrate cloud cover, leading to skin damage and sunburn. Sun rays can also reflect off of snow during the winter. Sunscreen should be worn year round, during hot summer months and cold, snowy winter months. Doing so will help to prevent skin damage caused by harmful UV rays.
Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer
Skin damage caused by UV rays can lead to skin cancer. Regularly wearing sunscreen will help to reduce the risk of skin cancer, which can be potentially fatal.
In addition to wearing sunscreen year round, it’s important to schedule a skin cancer screening with a dermatologist to identify potential signs of skin cancer.
Sunburns are painful and can last anywhere from a few days to over a week. They make daily activities difficult and visible redness can cause a person to feel uncomfortable in public. Certain skin types are more susceptible to sunburns and require extra protection. Regularly wearing sunscreen will reduce the risk of redness, discomfort, and a burning sensation.
Maintain Even Skin Tone
Skin damage caused by harmful UV rays can create an uneven skin tone across the face and body. Reversing the damage can turn out to be an expensive and lengthy process, requiring laser treatment, facials, and other professional skin care remedies. Avoid the need for expensive damage-control by protecting your skin with sunscreen. Your skin — and pocketbook — will thank you.
Reduce the Likelihood of Premature Aging
Sun damage causes wrinkles, sagging skin, and sun spots, and contributes to premature aging. Wearing sunscreen regularly can reduce your risk of prematurely aging skin and help you maintain a young and healthy appearance.
How to Choose the Right Sunscreen
When shopping for sunscreen, be sure to choose a sunscreen with “broad spectrum” protection. Sunscreens with this label protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Though all sunscreen products protect against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancers, broad spectrum sunscreens also protect against UVA rays, which contribute to skin cancer and premature aging.
Choose a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to filter out about 97% of UVB rays. SPF 50 sunscreens filter about 98% of UVB rays and SPF 100 filter about 99%. No sunscreen can protect the skin completely.
Understand that “water resistant” does not mean “waterproof.” No sunscreen is completely waterproof or “sweatproof,” and manufacturers cannot make this claim. If a product’s front label claims water resistance, it must specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. For maximum protection, reapply sunscreen once at least every two hours and even more often if you are swimming or sweating.