By John Hand –
Summer is here, and that means lots of exposure to the sun. Whether that involves sitting at the beach, going for a walk or playing softball or volleyball, the sun tends to beckon almost everyone. However, for all the joy those rays bring, unfiltered exposure can be dangerous. The sun can do irreversible damage to the skin, including everything from premature wrinkles to serious problems like skin cancer.
Thanks in part to sun worshiping, one in five Americans has been diagnosed with skin cancer, making it one of the most common forms of cancer, according to Healthline.com. Thankfully, there are simple ways to offset the damage and danger these rays bring by taking some sun safety precautions.
The first step is to use sunscreen. Products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 reduce the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent. It also cuts the chances of getting squamous cell carcinoma by approximately 40 percent. High levels of protection can offer even more relief—to a certain extent.
“There’s a huge jump in terms of the rays blocked between a 15 and a 30, but above 30, there’s not much of a difference [in sunscreen],” according to dermatologist Elizabeth Mullans.
Sunscreen is not just for the beach or pool. It should be applied anytime someone is outside. Also, it is important to buy sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays since both rays can lead to skin cancer.
There are also different types of sunscreens, even though they offer the same SPF ratings. Mineral-based sunscreens offer a natural blocker of the sun’s rays using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These particles sit on the skin. In contrast, a chemical sunscreen goes into the skin and absorbs rays.
Is one type of sunscreen better or safer than the other? It’s debatable. There are pros and cons for each, Health.com reports.
Regardless of the type, sunscreens aren’t the only way to protect skin. Staying hydrated is also essential, especially in summer. Consuming fluids such as water, coconut water and fruit juice keep a body hydrated, and they help flush out toxins, skinscraft.com noted. It is recommended to drink half to a whole gallon of water or another hydrating substance daily.
Moisturizing is another way to keep the skin hydrated. Done at least daily, it stops the skin from producing too many oils, which causes a shiny look. Moisturizing also helps the skin create a barrier to any chemicals and irritants that could cause harm. Better yet, many moisturizers also have built-in SPF values.
Beyond what is in or on a body, routine skin care is also required. The simplest and easiest step is to wash the skin daily. At a minimum, wash in the morning and at night. Cleaning after a workout is also important. The process should involve using warm rather than hot water to prevent oils from leaving the skin. An exfoliant or cleanser also should be applied to remove dirt.
Choosing the correct skin care products is equally important. Often, these products are marketed based on gender, but what’s more important is picking the solution right for each individual’s skin type. It ultimately comes down to dry, sensitive or oily skin. People with dry skin, for example, lack natural oils and typically get eczema or red patches. People with sensitive skin can have red or itchy skin. Those with oily skin tend to break out and have a shiny glow. Specific skin care products will work better on each of these issues.
Ultimately, summer doesn’t mean avoiding the sun; it simply means knowing how to protect the skin while enjoying the warmth.