While enjoying the outdoors is a must, so is protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays all year round.
Most of us think if we slather on the sunscreen – the higher the SPF the better – that we are adequately protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays. But really, that’s only half true.
1. Higher isn't necessarily better
For babies and small children, it’s especially important to apply sunscreen on them. The brands that are geared towards kids are usually SPF 60 or higher. But while that number is high, it’s not necessarily better than an SPF 30, especially if you are only applying the SPF 60 once.
The important thing about wearing sunscreen is the frequency with which you apply it. While SPF 15 is the lowest you should use, it, and any other SPF number sunscreen you use, should be applied at least each hour you are outdoors.
2. Shade only does so much
Umbrellas and shade may offer protection from the sun’s heat, but they do not protect you from UV rays. Sun damage can easily occur in the shade where the SPF protection is only five to seven. If you are at the beach or near water, UV rays can bounce off sand and water and reach you under your umbrella, which makes reapplying your sunscreen even when under any type of shade even more important.
3. Waterproof protection
While there are sunscreens that claim to be waterproof, there is actually no such thing. Between sweating and swimming, these sunscreens only last a maximum of 80 minutes safely, 40 if you are swimming. Despite the “all-day” or waterproof label, you still need to reapply sunscreen every one to two hours.
4. A sunscreen for all seasons
A common myth is that sunscreen is only need during the summer months. Just as UV rays bounce off water and sand, the same occurs with snow and ice. Also, dry winter skin is especially vulnerable to UV rays.
5. Medications and the sun
If you are on birth-control, antihistamines or other medications, you could be more sensitive to the sun, making you a prime target for sunburn, despite applying sunscreen. Ask your doctor about any medications you are taking to find out if any of them are making you sun sensitive.
The next time you step outside, remember that applying and re-applying sunscreen is your best line of defence against UV rays, no matter the season.