Summer is almost here and the sun is shining more than ever. Do you regularly wear sunscreen? Most of us know that we should wear sunscreen every time we are outside but it often doesn’t happen. What’s our excuse? Laziness, forgetfulness or even not trusting the chemical ingredients in sunscreens.
So why do you need sunscreen?
You need sunscreen to avoid sunburn and skin damage from the sun that can lead to skin cancer and even death. Talk about good motivation to protect yourself!
What are some natural ways to protect yourself from the sun that don’t include sunscreen?
- Make sure you are covered up. Even if is hot out, wear loose long sleeved shirts or pants and hats to protect your skin from UV rays. There are even clothes you can buy that have SPF protection in them.
- Wear sunglasses. Make sure you have good quality sunglasses that protect your eyes and the area around your eyes. Often cheap sunglasses aren’t even worth the price because they do nothing to protect your eyes.
- Find shade. If you can’t find a shady place to sit under, make your own. Take umbrellas or tents with you to protect your skin when staying outside.
- Try going outside and enjoying the sun earlier in the morning or later at night when the sun’s rays aren’t at their peak. Avoid the sun midday to avoid the worst UV rays.
What are some ingredients to avoid in sunscreens?
- First of all, remember that some sunscreens prevent sunburn but not other types of skin damage that can be deadly. Stick to SPF 15-30 and reapply often. SPF 50+ is often not more effective and can trick you into thinking you don’t need to reapply.
- Avoid vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for you but putting it on your skin may cause tumors and lesions to develop sooner. It can also be called retinyl palmitate or retinol.
- Avoid oxybenzone which is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt your hormones. Instead, look for products with zinc oxide, 3 percent avobenzone or Mexoryl SX.
- Avoid sprays because the tiny particles in the air might cause difficulty breathing.
What are some other ways to make sure you are protected from sun damage?
- Regularly check for moles. Look for irregular looking moles. A normal mole should be brown in color, circular and doesn’t change size or shape over time. If you have a black mole, one that is changing in size or color or shape, has an irregular shape or is larger than the size of a pencil eraser, get it checked out by a dermatologist ASAP.
How can you protect your kids from sun damage?
- For babies and infants, keep them out of direct sun. Make sure to cover them up properly, make plenty of shade, and avoid midday sun. Most sunscreens are not very safe for infants, so ask your doctor what to use if you must be in the sun or can’t find or create a lot of shade.
- For older children, make sure they use lots of sunscreen. Be sure to test sunscreen on the inside of a child’s wrist first to see if they are allergic. Be sure to reapply often, especially if they are very active or swimming.
- For teens, talk to them about sun safety. Teens are the most likely to tan and not wear sunscreen outside. If they like the tan look, look into safe self-tanners and bronzers instead. Be a good role model and let them see you protect yourself from the sun.
Do you protect yourself from the sun? What is your favorite sunscreen? Share with us your personal stories or tips!