Wearing sunscreen is something that brings many of us back to the smelly white lotion our parent’s used to wipe on us as we struggled and wriggled to get away and play with our friends. While the lotion may have left embarrassing white residue all over our face and body, our parent’s were always right when they said to wear sunscreen.
Sunscreen is not something that should only be worn on warm, sunny days when we are outside with our friends. It is something that should be worn EVERYDAY. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are always present, and cause damage to our skin that results in premature aging, dark spots, and most severely- skin cancer. There are two types of UV rays. UVA rays are the type of UV rays that can be seen, those you see on sunny days. But UVB rays are not blocked, even when the weather is overcast, and therefore are still causing damage to the skin. This is important to remember when looking for a sunscreen. You want to make sure the sunscreen is labeled as “broad spectrum” because that means it protects against UVA and UVB rays. SPF only protects against UVB rays, and therefore is not enough alone to prevent sun damage.
Sunscreen should be applied every two hours to be truly effective, and should be applied not just to the face but to all parts of the body that are uncovered-including ears and parts in our hair. It is also important to remember that while naturally darker skin is less prone to burning, the skin can still be damaged by the UV rays and cause signs of premature aging.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and it is estimated every 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Many causes of skin cancer can be prevented by simply protecting your skin each day using a broad spectrum sunscreen. To have and maintain healthy, great looking skin now and as you get older, wearing sunscreen every day is extremely important. And lucky for us, sunscreen formulas have improved since we were kids and there are many great broad spectrum sunscreens that can fit easily into your daily routine.