Sun-Safe Skin Care

By Kirstie Boone

With Labor Day weekend just around the corner and many of us preparing to escape to the coast for the long weekend, it’s time to talk about sun-safe skin care. Even as summer comes to a close, dangerous UV rays still beam down on your skin. If you are not careful, these UV rays can cause sunburn and an increased risk of getting skin cancer or melanoma. If you plan on soaking up the last little bit of summer outdoors, the only way to protect yourself from this vicious, ultraviolet radiation is by using sunscreen and covering up!

  • Cover up! Whether you are going to be outside for 30 minutes or 3 hours, always grab a hat to cover your face. The best way to keep your face looking youthful is by protecting your skin from the sun when you are outdoors, and the easiest way to do that is with an adorable floppy hat or a stylish baseball cap, both of which you can easily find in Columbia! Even while driving, sun can still creep in through tinted windows and damage your skin, so it’s best to cover up as much as possible.
  • Know your SPF! SPF, short for sun protection factor, shows how strongly a sunscreen protects from UV rays and how long you can be exposed to the sun before burning. If you use 30 SPF, which is the lowest level of sunscreen you should apply, it means that you can be in the sun without burning 30 times longer than you could without sunscreen. Be cautious when it comes to sunscreens that claim to have unusually high SPF numbers though, as some products might not actually give you as much protection from UV rays as you think. It’s best to reapply often, no matter what strength of SPF you use.
  • ALWAYS wear sunscreen! And be sure to give your skin enough time to fully absorb the sunscreen before taking a dip into the pool or ocean. Thankfully, society seems to become more aware of the dangers of not wearing sunscreen when spending time outdoors, so applying sunscreen isn’t as much of a problem anymore. The problem lies in not allowing enough time for the sunscreen to soak in or not reapplying the sunscreen after a few hours in the sun. Besides the obvious plus of protecting you from harmful UV rays, sunscreen can also keep skin from drying out in the scorching summer heat. The popular sunscreen company, Hawaiian Tropic®, makes a lightweight, moisturizing sunscreen that I’ve used all summer long. It’s SPF 30, and called Hawaiian Tropic® Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen. It doesn’t leave a sticky residue that some sunscreens leave behind, and it works great!
  • Reapply! Even if you don’t feel like you are getting a sunburn, it’s best to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Yes, even if you are nose-deep in one of Mary T. Dial’s amazing garden features in the latest issue of Columbia Metropolitan Magazine, you should still take a break long enough to reapply that sunscreen! Recently, watchdog Environmental Working Group submitted a letter to the Food and Drug Administration commissioner regarding sunscreen with outrageously high UV protection numbers. Their concern is that these unusually high numbers could be giving users a false confidence that they can stay in the sun for longer amounts of time. Higher SPF protects from skin redness but not necessarily UV damage, thus the redness associated with damaging amounts of sunlight is not present while UV rays still are. Whether you are applying SPF 30 or SPF 100 sunscreen, you should still reapply after two hours. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sun-safe skin care.
  • Wear sunscreen during every season! Even if it’s the middle of winter, it’s important to always apply sunscreen if you are heading outdoors. In winter months, our skin is mostly covered by boots, pants, scarves and long sleeves, but our faces are typically exposed. This means that when choosing a make up for winter months as well as summer months, you should look for products that have sunscreen in them such as Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. This cream is an advanced anti-aging moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF 30. This product, like many others, moisturizes while protecting your skin from the sun.
  • Don’t even think about a tanning bed! There is so much research proving that tanning beds cause irreparable damage to skin. Fortunately, as we become more aware of the dangers associated with tanning beds, more and more sunless tanning products arrive on the market. One of the most popular products is Jergens® Natural Glow®. There are numerous choices within the Jergens® sunless tanner product line, which is all the more reason to stay away from tanning beds. Somewhat new to the sunless tanning scene is Rodan and Fields’. The company’s Essentials Foaming Sunless Tanner claims to create an even, natural-looking tan.

So whether you are heading to the beach this Labor Day weekend or working in the yard during the cooler fall and winter months, it’s important to follow all precautions when it comes to sun-safe skin care to make sure skin stays clear and youthful for years to come. What are some sun-safe skin care tips you have learned while living in our famously hot city of Columbia, South Carolina? Comment on our Facebook page with a favorite tip that you’d like to share!

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