The sun’s rays can affect you all year round, but they’re the strongest in the spring and summer. And with warm temperatures, you’re probably spending more time outside in the sun than usual. As you might imagine, protecting your skin in the summer is especially important.
Not all sun exposure is bad. In fact, you need some sun to help promote your body’s vitamin D production. But too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can affect your health in many ways.
It can damage your eyes, skin, and immune system, as well as increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, affecting 1 million people every year.
The sun can speed up the aging process and make you look older. When UV rays penetrate your skin, they can break down the fibers that keep your skin firm, resulting in wrinkles and saggy skin.
Too much sun can also lead to dark brown spots, also called “age spots,” on the places your skin is most exposed to the sun, such as your face and hands.
Dr. Bruce Saal and his expert medical team at Los Gatos Dermatology can help treat aging issues related to longtime sun exposure, as well as perform an annual skin cancer screening.
It’s best to prevent sun damage by protecting your skin from the sun whenever possible. Here, we share five simple tips to protect your skin from spring and summer sun.
Wear a hat and good sunglasses
In addition to making you look stylish, a wide-brimmed hat and good sunglasses with UV protection can help block the sun’s harmful rays from your face, neck, ears, and the sensitive skin around your eyes.
A baseball hat won’t do the trick in the same way because it leaves your neck exposed.
Apply the right sunscreen liberally and often
Your sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. When you use it, cover all areas exposed to the sun, including your scalp, ears, and back of your neck. Don’t skimp on sunscreen.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours or sooner if swimming. Lastly, check the expiration date. Old sunscreen that has passed its expiration date is not effective, so toss it and buy a new one.
Wear protective clothing
If you’re gardening, hiking, or out in the sun for a long time for any reason, cover up. Wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as the hat, as we already mentioned.
There are so many lightweight, breathable fabrics these days that you can feel cool and comfortable while getting the sun protection you need.
Avoid the sun at prime time
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 2 pm. It’s best to say inside during these hours, but if you must stay outside, try to seek shade or stay out of the sun for long periods. When you are out in the sun, don’t forget your hat, glasses, and protective clothing.
Protect your lips
Your lips need sun protection, too. They can quickly get sunburned and develop skin cancer as with any other part of your body. Use a lip balm that has UV sun protection of at least 15, and reapply often.
To prevent skin cancer or catch it in its early stages, see a dermatologist like Dr. Saal for regular skin cancer screenings. For more information on skin protection and anti-aging treatments or to make an annual skin checkup, call us at Los Gatos Dermatology in Los Gatos, California, to schedule an appointment.