Why Should You Wear Sunscreen? Everything You Wanted to Know about Sun Protection

~ Sunscreen is important for all the summer holidays and more ~

July is Ultraviolet Awareness Month

Summer is officially here! With July 4 coming up as well as all the summer festivals, weekends and activities, it is time to talk about why sunscreen is so important to your health.

Did you know even children need sunscreen if they will be outside more than 15 minutes? That’s right. The damage done to a child’s skin from too much sun can come back to haunt them later.

EVERYONE should apply sunscreen regularly if they will be out in the sun for more than just a few minutes and you should reapply every so often as sweat and other waters washes it right off. You don’t have to worry about blocking vitamin D absorption because you are in the sun so much. But please do read up on ingredients as some sunscreens have a small level of toxicity.

When Do You Need Sun Protection?

Is sunscreen just for summer? No, sunscreen isn’t just for summer. You should protect your skin ALL YEAR LONG. You are out in the sun more than you know.

Do you walk outside to your workplace from a parking space? That adds to your daily sun exposure. So does driving in your car for more than a few minutes. Think of all the rays poring through your car, office and home windows—not just from the sun, but from all the metal, glass, and white concrete surfaces around you. Do you walk or drive to lunch? Either way, that’s more sun exposure. Do you walk out to get your mail? Do you water plants, cut the grass, or play fetch with your dog? Play a sport, golf, swim or hike on the weekends? That’s more sun exposure, and IT ALL ADDS UP.

Sunscreen Vs. Sunblock

What’s the difference between a sunscreen and a sunblock? Most sunscreens only protect the skin from UV-B rays. A sunblock actually blocks the sun’s UV rays and prevents them from penetrating the skin. A good sunblock creates a physical barrier between your skin and. Sunblocks contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to protect the skin against both UV-A and UV-B rays.

Can you use sunscreen and sunblock at the same time? It is better to stick to either a sunscreen or a sunblock. Some ingredients can cancel out other ingredients. Worse, some ingredients can become irritating when combined with other ingredients. Be careful when mixing and matching. Either stick to chemical sunscreens or mineral sunblocks.

Which is better, sunscreen or sunblock? Sunblock usually leaves a white residue wherever you apply it, but it doesn’t have chemical ingredients, so it is not likely to cause skin irritation. Plus, it is the best type of sun protection for sensitive skin. Sunscreens don’t leave that white residue, but some of the chemical ingredients may irritate skin, especially if you use multiple products with different ingredients that interact badly with each other.

Natural Shade

It is best to try to opt for natural shade whenever you can IF IT WILL COVER YOU COMPLETELY, including your scalp, lips, hands, nose, ears, ankles, and tops of your feet. Find lightweight long-sleeved clothing that will wick moisture. Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Buy a sun sail to hang up where you will be working. Gardening gloves, solar gloves and sleeves-there are a lot of options but PROTECT YOUR SKIN. The damage starts before you see it.

I don’t even follow my advice all the time, but I DO try to follow it. I can say in all honesty that my skin looks so much better than most of my peers because I have made regular attempts to use a good sunscreen and cover up for many years now.

I have worked in skincare for 24 years, as a Walgreens beauty advisor, at Macy’s cosmetics counter and as an independent consultant at Rodan + Fields Dermatologists. I lost my mother to melanoma cancer. I also have a skin type that is 30% more likely to produce skin cancers, so I have done research for a lifetime on achieving healthy skin.

If you need advice on skincare, just ask me in the comments below or join my Facebook Page. I can recommend products that use fewer toxic ingredients, product regimens that work well together to protect and heal your skin from different types of sun damage, and discuss other forms of covering up. I can recommend products to reduce the appearance of sun damage. I even have a recipe for making a plant-based sunscreen that I am going to try out this year.

This July, UV Awareness Month, make it a priority to create better habits to protect your skin. If you have sun protection tips or natural sunscreen recipes that really work, please leave them in the comments below.

Photo by Good Days Digital for Unsplash

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