We have all heard how important it is to wear sunscreen for skin protection, but do you know the specific reasons why? Our skin works to protect us from harmful ultraviolet radiation, which is why we should use sunscreen to protect us from damaging UV rays. Even on cloudy days, our skin is susceptible to the sun’s rays which can lead to skin cancer, discoloration, and wrinkles over time.
The biggest change you can make in your daily routine to help protect your skin is applying sunscreen each morning and again throughout the day. It’s also crucial that you contact your local Board-Certified Dermatologist if you notice any changes in your skin or new spots. Below, we outline the importance of daily sunscreen use and how you can protect your skin.
Reduce the Risk of Sunburn
All dermatological professionals will emphasize the importance of skin protection and preventing sunburns. You can become sunburned from spending extended periods of time outside with no sunscreen, and also from using tanning beds or booths. If you continuously get sunburns, it can lead to damage that can cause skin cancer, premature wrinkling, and many other skin issues. If you develop a severe sunburn with blisters, reach out to your local dermatologist for help as they can assess your burn and suggest products to help with the pain and minimize scarring. IF caught early enough, oral or topical steroids can prevent some of the damage associated with sunburns.
Prevent the Signs of Aging
Repeated sun exposure with little to no protection can cause damage to your elastin, collagen and skin cells. Over time, this can lead to premature signs of aging including discoloration, wrinkles, fine lines, and a leathery appearance. Premature aging, called photoaging, is common in those who spend time in the sun without sunscreen – especially in their 20s and 30s. Thankfully, these skin issues are preventable with daily sunscreen use.
Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer
Using sunscreen each day, even when it is cloudy, is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer. Statistics show that by age 70, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. You can lower your risk of developing this disease using a minimum of SPF 30 multiple times each day. For even more protection, you can use a higher-level SPF. If you are spending prolonged time outdoors or will be in the water, you should reapply your sunscreen every two hours.
Prevent Skin Discoloration
It can be difficult to live with areas of skin discoloration, especially when they appear later in life. These areas of discoloration are often called “sun spots” or “liver spots” and are usually tan to brown in color. They often develop on the face, head, hands, and arms, and can affect both men and women. Applying sunscreen periodically throughout your day can help prevent these spots from appearing on your skin.
When our skin is exposed to UV rays it can cause painful redness and inflammation. This can be especially challenging for individuals with skin issues like psoriasis or rosacea. Wearing sunscreen each day helps to prevent inflammation from harmful rays. If you are prone to redness and have sensitive skin, look for a sunscreen with gentle ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. You should also avoid spray-on sunscreens as these can contain harsh formulas, including alcohol that can dry out the skin. If you have questions regarding your skin issues or need help selecting a product, reach out to your local board-certified dermatologist for assistance.
Tips for Picking a Sunscreen
Choosing a sunscreen product can be overwhelming with all of the different options available. One of the most important things to look for when choosing products is the level of SPF, keeping in mind an SPF of 30 or higher will ensure that your skin is fully protected, even on cloudy days. Remember to always reapply sunscreen after swimming or using a towel, and always choose a product with “broad spectrum” coverage. If you need help, reach out to our board-certified dermatologists at Mahoney Dermatology Specialists today!