How to Keep Your Skin Healthy & Avoid Sun DamagePosted on September 15, 2020
Sun damage is one of the main causes of premature aging of the skin, especially on the face. Lines, wrinkles, uneven coloration, and roughness are all effects of extended exposure to harmful UV rays, not to mention the increased risk of skin cancer. In this case, protecting your skin from sun damage is one of the clearest examples we have of the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Your skin will age. It’s a fact of life. But why rush the process with careless exposure to the damaging effects of sunlight? Here are some simple tips to protect your skin and keep it healthy and radiant.
Know When You’re at Risk of Sun Damage
We all know that a day at the beach will expose our skin to massive doses of UV rays. But many of us aren’t aware that we’re getting high levels of exposure even when we’re out and about on a cloudy day, driving in our cars, or outside in the winter.
Protect your skin from the sun whenever you go out, and take special precautions during the hours of peak sunlight — between 10 am and 3 pm. Without protection, your skin can be damaged in as little as 15 minutes, though it can take up to 12 hours for the signs of that damage to appear — and years for the cumulative effects to show.
Use Effective Sunscreen
Sunscreen manufacturers make it easy to understand the effectiveness of their products by labeling them with a numerical sun protection factor (SPF). Whenever you go out during daylight hours, apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Choose a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. UVB radiation causes sunburn. UVA radiation causes premature aging and wrinkling and can pass through glass. Both are associated with skin cancer. The SPF rating measures only the sunscreen’s effectiveness in blocking UVB rays, so it’s important to look beyond that number for broad-spectrum protection.
Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside. Reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if you are sweating or swimming. Cover all exposed areas, including your face, ears, and backs of your hands, and use a sun-protective lip balm. Be generous in the amount you put on. An application that’s too thin won’t give you full protection. If you wear foundation, apply the sunscreen first, then your foundation.
Check the expiration date, too. The active ingredients in sunscreen don’t last forever.
Avoid Direct Sun Exposure
Think of sunscreen as your backup protection, with your primary protection being the avoidance of extended exposure to the sun.
- Plan your outings for the start and end of the day, when the sun’s angle is lower and UV rays are less intense. If your shadow is longer than you are tall, you’re in the safer part of the daylight hours.
- Pay attention to the UV index, which is included in many weather reports and can easily be found online. When the UV index is 10 or higher, you should try to stay indoors.
- Remember that UV rays penetrate clouds, so they are reaching your skin even when the sun isn’t shining.
- Keep in the shade as much as you can when you are out.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, clothing made with tightly woven fabric, and UV-filtering sunglasses.
- Be careful around reflective surfaces. Water, sand, and snow reflect the sun’s damaging rays, increasing your exposure.
- Be aware of how medication can affect your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Some antibiotics, antidepressants, diabetes drugs, and acne medications can make you more susceptible to sun damage.
Learn About Treatments for Sun-Damaged Skin
Dr. David Kim and Dr. Eugene Kim at Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery have developed an impeccable reputation for stunning, natural-looking cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery results, attracting patients from all over the world. Contact our practice today at (310) 746-5475 or send an online request to schedule a consultation.