By: Heather Bien
You’ve waved goodbye to laying out in the sun wearing only SPF 4 and you wouldn’t dare step foot in a tanning bed, but are you doing all you can to stay sun savvy this summer?
We often think we’re staying sun safe by applying sunscreen when we hit the beach or putting on a tinted moisturizer with an SPF 15, but the sun is out every day (even when it’s cloudy!) and there are extra precautions you should take to make sure you’re staying sun savvy from head to toe.
And, health benefits aside, who doesn’t want to do all they can to ward off sun damage and wrinkles? So, as the weather warms up, here are a few must-do’s to add to your sun savvy checklist.
UV rays can burn you through a car or plane window, so don’t forget to put on your SPF before your next road trip or flight. You’ve probably seen the images of truck drivers who’ve spent years on the road––the left side of their face in stark, wrinkled contrast to the right. Those might be the extreme cases, but it’s a good reminder of the damage that can be done just through a window. So, remember to slather on the sunscreen––face, neck, arms, and hands––each time you hit the road or the air.
Use a sunscreen in addition to the SPF in your makeup or moisturizer. While any protection is better than none, you’ll ideally use an SPF 30+ sunscreen over your moisturizer for maximum protection.
Sunscreen isn’t just for your face! The beach isn’t the only time you need to apply sunscreen all over. Invest in an everyday sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays and make it a habit to cover any exposed skin with SPF, including hands, neck, tops of feet, and ears. And, if you’re outside all day, make sure to reapply every 2 hours. Want extra credit? Consider UPF clothing to ward off any rays that would otherwise make it through your clothing (yes, that’s a thing!).
Always check interactions between medications, skincare products, and the sun! Be cognizant that many anti-aging and anti-acne ingredients are known for photosensitivity, causing the skin to burn quickly and easily. Retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and antibiotics are some common offenders, though you should check any medication you take for possible sun interactions. I’ll never forget the morning I went out to run a few errands still wearing my retinol night cream and neglecting to put on a sunscreen––the burn from just an hour spent in the sun looked as if I’d been sitting on a beach for days with zero protection.
You want your sunscreen to be accessible at all times, but do not leave it in the car. Particularly in the summer, the rising temperatures can cause active ingredients in sunscreen to degrade, making it less effective.
Remember, hats are chic and functional. How fabulous do you feel with a wide-brimmed hat while you’re at the beach or strolling through the farmer’s market? Luckily, covering up your face isn’t just a style statement, it’s a sun savvy move. Don’t have a hat? Seek out the shade!
Don’t forget your eyes! Go for the Jackie O. look and supersize your sunglasses. Not only will this protect your eyes from sun damage, but it will add an extra layer of sun protection for the sensitive and thin skin around your eyes.
So, get outside this summer and bask in the sun’s warm rays. Enjoy the beach, picnic at the park, and soak up every delightful minute of sweet summertime. Just make sure that you’re being sun safe and healthy along the way!
Also, here’s your friendly reminder to schedule an annual skin check with your dermatologist! Plus, keep an eye on your skin with self-checks and look out for any moles or spots that are changing, growing, or irregular.