We have officially entered the season of sunshine! While we bask in the sun’s rays, it can be harmful — even deadly — so we have to take extra precautions when we head outside. May 27th happens to be National Sunscreen Day — in honor of the day, here are 5 tips for using sunscreen.
Check the Expiration Date Sunscreen expires, so check the dates on all of the sunscreen in your cabinets and chuck anything that’s past its prime. Anything that’s old has lost its effectiveness in protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays. Anything open from last season that hasn’t yet expired should also be tossed — it starts to lose its power as soon as it’s opened.
Full Protection For everyday use, an SPF of 15 is recommended, but a higher SPF is recommended for days you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun. For extra protection, check the ingredients — ingredients like zinc sit on top of your skin rather to block all rays to give you full protection (it’s the stuff you used to see life guards and skiers wear on their noses). Also look for sunscreens with “broad protection” — they protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
Be Vigilant Apply your sunscreen twenty minutes before you go out to the pool, beach or backyard — or anytime you’re in the sun — and re-apply every two hours even if it’s waterproof. Sun damage happens very quickly and with subtle warnings. If your skin appears to be pink, the damage has already started. That’s when you stop reapplying your sunscreen and start treating your burn. Cool compresses (wet towel or wash cloth) and aloe cool the skin and ease the pain. Black tea bags can also help reduce discomfort.
Slather It On Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using about one teaspoon of sunscreen for every square inch of skin. That’s a lot of sunscreen, but it’s a small price to pay to prevent sun damage and skin cancer.
Double Sun Protection The best way to protect yourself from the sun is to stay out of it. In the summer when it’s warm and all of our activities are outside, it’s hard to avoid the sun, but you can reduce your sun exposure by staying in the shade. If you don’t have a lot of shade in your backyard, consider putting up a temporary shade sail or portable cabana to give you a break from the sun and still allows you to enjoy being outside. Also consider wearing hats and light, breathable clothing to block out the rays.
We’re so excited that summer is here, but, like with anything, you have to take in the sun with moderation and protect yourself from sun damage as best as you can. Whether you’re heading to the beach for a week or you have a sunny staycation planned, remember to use your sunscreen.