In college, I was more concerned about getting an even tan than protecting my skin. I hate to say that sunscreen was not always a priority when heading outside because I thought I couldn’t get tan wearing it. As it turns out, that is a myth! You will still get color while wearing sunscreen. However, it’s more important to focus on protecting your skin (can you say sunless tanner?!).
While we know it’s important to protect our skin from UV (ultraviolet) radiation, what exactly are we protecting ourselves from? Here are three reasons you should apply sunscreen every time you’re outside.
Decrease the risk of developing skin cancer
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, wearing sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent. This is important because melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer as it often spreads. Sunscreen can also lower your chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma by nearly 40 percent. Because UV rays don’t penetrate deeply into the body, they mostly wreak havoc on our skin.
Keep your skin tone even
UV damage causes the skin to darken. Often times, people develop “sun spots” as a result of not wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen also helps to protect your skin from darkening acne scars. I have a lot of red marks on my face and back from previous breakouts. UV rays can make these darker and harder to lighten over time.
Prevent more than a sunburn
Sunburns are red, painful, and warm to the touch. While we often associate overexposure to the sun with sunburns, there is a lot more that can happen as a result of getting too much sun. A severe sunburn, also known as sun poisoning, can cause nausea, dehydration, headaches, and more. You can also get heat stroke and sun allergy.
Now that we know why we should protect our skin, how do we know which sunscreen to use? First, let’s start with the basics. If you’ve ever purchased sunscreen, you have seen the letters SPF plastered across the front of the bottle. SPF stands for sun protection factor. Those three letters are always followed by a set of numbers. While you may think that a higher SPF number means more protection, that is not necessarily the case. SPF 30 blocks nearly 97 percent of UV rays, while SPF 50 blocks about 98 percent. That is only a one percent difference!
Second, buy a sunscreen that you like. Back in my news days, I interviewed a doctor who said when you use a sunscreen you like, you’re more inclined to reapply it and protect your skin. My favorite natural sunscreen to use is from Juice Beauty. Their sport sunscreen is water resistant and made with natural products. Regardless of which sunscreen you use, make sure you reapply every one and a half to two hours because sunscreen wears off.
While sunscreen is important, it’s not the only thing you should be using to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Add a hat and sunglasses to your outdoor fashion essentials! Goodr is my favorite sunglasses brand. They’re fashionable, affordable, don’t slide around (this is great if you’re running), and protect your eyes. And if you don’t like wearing hats, try wearing a visor! I like how comfortable they are and how easy it is to wear your hair up while still protecting your face.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably spending more time outside due to stay-at-home orders. Next time you leave the house for some fresh air and sunshine, make sure you’re protected. Your skin will thank you!