It’s warming up outside, Nashville, and we can start dreaming about Summer! Swimming holes, barbecues, hikes, and trips to the beach…the sky’s the limit in the summer sun!
After being shut up indoors for several months, it’s natural that we want to get outside as much as possible, right away. The sun is good for us, after all; we can sit out in the bright light and refuel our stores of Vitamin D!
However, we all know that we need to take care of our skin when it comes to all those hours outdoors. Many studies have shown that it is vital to use sunscreen to guard against skin cancer and other issues. Sunscreen protects our skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) light. UVA penetrates to the deep layers of the skin, causing damage over time such as wrinkling and age spots. UVB is a shorter wavelength of light and is the one that causes sunburn. To guard against both these types of UV light, we can use a “broad or full-spectrum” sunscreen.
There are two types of sunscreens available to us today: chemical and physical.
Physical sunscreen is less expensive and hypoallergenic. It will protect our skin by reflecting or absorbing that light. It remains visible on our skin after application and can be hard to wash off, but it does offer significant lasting protection from the sun and is often less irritating. This makes it particularly beneficial for use on children and those with sensitive skin.
Chemical sunscreens also absorb UV light and then cause it to undergo a chemical reaction that stops any skin damage from occurring.
The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, of a sunscreen is a very important piece of information for us to think about when choosing the one we want to use. The minimum SPF factor we need is 15, according to those in the health professions. Any SPF above 50 only offers a small increase in protection, so purchasing a sunscreen with an SPF of 100, for example, may not be worth the extra expense.
We need to be sure that we apply our sunscreen often and generously. Two tablespoons are only enough for our faces and necks, and the backs of our hands! Most of us just don’t apply enough. We should be re-applying every two hours, at least, and even more if we are swimming or sweating a lot. Sunscreens are water-resistant, but not waterproof.
Let’s take good care of our skin this summer, and may it be the best summer of all!