Fall and Sunscreen: Why Year-Round Sunblock is Vital
It's no secret that summer is the peak season for sunscreen sales. But many people don't realize sunscreen isn't just for the beach—it's for everyday use all year round. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. And while sunscreen can't eliminate your risk of developing skin cancer, it can significantly reduce it. Here's a closer look at why sunscreen is so important, even in the fall and winter months.
The Dangers of Sun Damage
Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can penetrate your skin and break down elastin fibers—the fibers that give your skin its elasticity and firmness. Most people know that too much sun exposure can lead to sunburns, wrinkles, and fine lines. But did you know it can also cause long-term damage to your skin?
This process leads to premature aging, wrinkling, and sagging skin. UV ray exposure can also lead to skin cancer. Fortunately, sunscreen can help protect your skin from these dangers.
The Benefits of Wearing Sunscreen
Now that we've looked at some dangers of sun damage, let's look at some benefits of wearing sunscreen daily:
Helps prevent premature aging
As we mentioned before, one of the principal causes of premature aging is exposure to UV rays. By wearing sunscreen daily, you can help protect your skin from these harmful rays and keep your skin looking young and radiant for years to come.
Reduces your risk of developing skin cancer
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, regular use of sunscreen reduces your risk of developing melanoma—the deadliest type of skin cancer—by 50%. This benefit may be the best one on the list.
Saves money in the long run
Taking good care of your skin now will save you money down the road on costly treatments and procedures to combat premature aging and sun damage.
Gives you an extra boost of confidence
There's nothing like having confidence in your appearance. And when you know you're doing everything you can to take care of your skin, it shows!
Protect other parts of your body
It's not just your face that needs protection from the sun—your hands, neck, chest, and any other exposed body part can also benefit from sunscreen. The most common location for skin cancer is on the sun-exposed surfaces of the body, such as the face, neck, hands, and forearms.
How to Choose the Best Sunscreen
With all the different sunscreens on the market, it's often challenging to know which one is right for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a sunscreen:
Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen
Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA are long-wave rays that penetrate deep into the skin and cause premature aging. These two types of harmful UV rays can damage your skin.
UVB are short-wave rays that damage the outer layer of your skin and cause sunburns. If you're unsure which to choose, consider asking your dermatologist during your yearly skin check. Regular skin checks are essential for catching skin cancer early.
Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
SPF, or sun protection factor, measures how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays. The higher the SPF, the better the protection.
Choose a water-resistant sunscreen
If you are sweating or swimming, choose a water-resistant sunscreen. Water-resistant sunscreens can stay on your skin for up to 40 minutes before you need to reapply.
Consider your skin type
If you have sensitive skin, look for sunscreen for sensitive skin. These sunscreens are often free of ingredients that irritate the skin, such as fragrances, dyes, and parabens.
Consider your lifestyle
Do you work outdoors? Do you like to spend time at the beach? If you answered yes to either of these questions, look for a sunscreen that's designed for athletes, or that's water-resistant.
Other Tips to Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage
Besides wearing sunscreen, there are other things you can do to protect your skin from sun damage:
1. Cover up
When the sun's hottest, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., cover up as much skin as possible with clothing, including long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a hat.
2. Seek shade
If you can't cover up, seek shade under an umbrella, tree, or another shelter. This is especially important for young children, who are more sensitive to the sun's rays.
3. Wear sunglasses
Sunglasses help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Look for sunglasses blocking out 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
4. Wear Cosmetics With SPF Protection
Many foundations and primers now contain SPF protection. Wearing these can help give your skin an extra layer of protection from the sun.
5. Use Window Coverings
When indoors, close the curtains or blinds to block the sun's harmful rays. If you own your home and the windows are over 15 years old, consider replacing them with energy-efficient ones with built-in UV protection.
6. Get Your Vitamin D the Safe Way
Vitamin D is essential for bone health, but you don't need to spend hours in the sun to get it. You can get vitamin D from fortified foods, such as milk, orange juice, and cereal. You can also take a vitamin D supplement.
7. Don't Skip Your Lips
Your lips are just as susceptible to sun damage as the rest of your skin. Use a lip balm or lipstick that contains at least SPF 30.
As you can see, there are countless reasons everyone should use sunscreen daily—not just during the summer months but all year round!
Remember—sunscreen's not the only way to protect your skin and reduce premature aging. A skincare routine that includes a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and antioxidant serum can help you achieve and maintain radiant, youthful skin. Check out the full line of skin care products at Nanoderm for ethical, sustainable, and affordable skincare solutions.