Whether you’re spending your day in the office or at the beach, you should always shield your skin from the sun.
Think keeping your workout indoors at the gym means you don’t need sunscreen? Think again. You should always wear SPF. Every. Single. Day. That means even in the winter, and also when you’re spending most of your day inside, since harmful rays go right through glass. Even if you don’t get sunburned, your skin will still get damaged when it’s not protected, but you won’t be able to see the signs. Not only does wearing sunscreen daily protect you, it prevents signs of premature aging. And after wearing it regularly for a year, research shows it also reverses previous damage. Stay safe by following these basic rules for sun protection.
APPLY IT AT THE RIGHT TIME…
One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to sunscreen is applying it at the wrong time. “It’s important to apply sunscreen to cool, dry skin,” says Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, a Fruitland, Idaho-based dermatologist and founder of Epionce Skin Care. “This allows the sunscreen to bind properly to the skin. If you apply sunscreen once you are outside and your skin is moist and hot, the sunscreen won’t bind to the skin properly and the protection level drops.”
… AND THE RIGHT WAY
“People don’t use enough sunscreen to cover their skin,” says Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City based dermatologist and author of “Skin Rules.” “They put it on at the beach so they’re not looking in a mirror, and they miss spots because the bathing suit rides up or the strap falls.” The general rule of thumb is to apply a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen to the face and a shot glass — which is one ounce — for the body. Keep in mind that it sometimes takes more, depending on the size of the person. And remember that reapplying is crucial. “You should be applying sunscreen every two hours to any part of the body that is exposed to the sun,”Dr. Jaliman says. “People don’t reapply after they come out of the water, and then they towel off and they wipe off most of the sunscreen.” NEOVA DNA Damage Control ACTIVE (Broad Spectrum SPF 43) guards against UVA and UVB rays, plus its DNA repairing technology reduces visible signs of aging caused by the sun.
PROTECT YOUR PUCKER
“Many people forget to protect their lips, ”says Dr. Jaliman. “Thousands of new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year there.” Lips are very susceptible to sun and pigmentary damage, so protecting them all the time is key, especially when at the beach or playing sports. Keep your smacker safe with an SPF lip balm of 30 or higher, like Australian Gold SPF 30 Lip Balm with Antioxidants.
READ THE LABEL
Not all sunscreens are equal. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using at least SPF 30, since that offers 97% of protection from UVB light. “Ensure the sunscreen says ‘broad spectrum,’ and look for water resistance,” says Dr. Thornfeldt. “Broad spectrum means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The FDA doesn’t allow for products to be considered ‘waterproof’ — rather there are two levels of water resistance. ‘Water resistant’ means the product was tested to be effective up to 40 minutes in water, and ‘very water resistant’ means the product was tested to be effective up to 80 minutes in water.” Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Stick SPF50 is sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
SHOP FOR YOUR GENDER
Obviously we all need to protect our skin, but the formula can make a difference here. “Since men have more hair on their body and face, they definitely prefer a spray, as cream can get stuck in the hairs,” says Dr. Sherry Ingraham, MD, of Advanced Dermatology & Skin Care in Texas. Hampton Sun SPF 55 Continuous Mist has a 360-degree dispenser for easy, even coverage. “And because men don’t wear makeup every morning (which usually contains SPF), whereas most women do, men need to get into the habit of applying lotion with SPF after they shave every morning. Another helpful trick for men is to leave a bottle in their car so that they can apply before they go outside, especially if they’re playing a sport outdoors. ”Dr. Ingraham recommends using a stick for kids, since it’s easy to apply and they think it’s fun.
DON’T COUNT ON YOUR MAKEUP
Ladies, consider the SPF in your foundation bonus protection, but keep in mind you’ll need a stronger base when you’re getting lots of al fresco quality time. Take a good look at how much protection your makeup is really delivering. “I’ve seen people play tennis with sunscreen in their makeup but unfortunately it wasn’t water resistant and so they got burned,” Dr. Jaliman cautions. Colorscience Sunforgettable Mineral Brush On Sunscreen SPF 50 delivers natural-looking coverage. “Women do really well if they put on a makeup with an SPF 30 or a powder, since they’re easy to put in your purse and reapply throughout the day,” says Dr. Ingraham.
SEE THE DOC
Everyone should get a skin check at least once a year by a board certified dermatologist, but if skin abnormalities run in your family or you have a personal history of skin cancer, see a dermatologist every three to six months. In addition, since you know your body best, do skin checks at home. “Stand in front of a mirror and hold a hand mirror and systematically look at areas you wouldn’t normally see yourself,” says Dr. Ingraham. “The best way is to enlist a family member to look at areas you can’t see, like your back.” Be aware of any new moles that appear or seem to change, particularly in regards to shape or color, and also if it starts itching. If you notice something different, take pictures and make an appointment with a dermatologist.
Sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect your skin. “Wear a hat whenever possible,” advises Dr. Ingraham. “There’s also some great new UPF protective clothing, so you don’t have to worry about reapplying SPF during the day. There are also supplements like Heliocare, which has been shown to increase the body’s protection. Take one every day, whether you’re in the sun or not, and take a second dose at noon if you’re spending significant time outdoors.” She also recommends getting as many antioxidants as you can through your diet and topically. “Certain foods, like a cup of berries every day, or tomatoes, tomato sauce, pomegranates and green tea, can be very helpful in preventing sun damage. Use SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic on a daily basis to help prevent damage.”
TREAT THE BURN
You know better, but sunburns happen. “Immediately after sun exposure, take two ibuprofen, which can help inhibit the reaction, making it less painful,” says Dr. Ingraham. “If you get burned, protect the skin by keeping it moist with barrier cream — you want to ensure that it does not peel. If you’re severely burned, you may want to see a dermatologist to receive medications to help heal.” Aloe is another topical treatment that works wonders, but make sure to use an unscented formula. Dr. Thornfeldt recommends Epionce Enriched Firming Mask to take the heat and redness out of the skin and soothe it.