It’s common knowledge that a sunburn damages your skin, but did you know that a suntan can be harmful too? It doesn’t matter if you are burning or tanning, while you are working on that sun-kissed glow, ultraviolet (UV) rays are damaging your skin. Sun-damaged skin can cause pre-mature aging, wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer. To learn how to prevent sun damage and keep your skin healthy and looking young, follow the tips below.
How to Prevent Sun Damage
The most effective way to prevent sun damage is to avoid exposure to the sun. Stay indoors when ultraviolet rays are at their peak, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
When you must go outdoors, one of the most effective ways to protect your skin is to wear protective clothing. When you shop for clothes, look for garments with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) labels or choose sun-safe clothing options from your closet. If you want to know how to prevent sun damage, review the following guidelines for protective clothing:
- For maximum protection, cover as much of your body as possible. Long-sleeved shirts and pants provide a better line of defense than tank tops and shorts.
- A hat and sunglasses are essential.
- Tightly woven fabrics will do a better job of keeping damaging UV rays away from your skin than gauzy, sheer garments.
- Choose bright colors over pale shades.
Apply Sunscreen Early and Often
Sunscreen is a must. Choosing the right sunscreen is important, but it’s even more important to apply it correctly. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen that is water resistant and has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. It is also important for your sunscreen to protect against the two types of ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB rays. Look for that information on the label of your sunscreen.
You should apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you plan on going outside. Don’t skimp – apply a generous amount to all areas of your skin that will not be covered by your clothing. Reapply every two hours, or after swimming or excessive sweating. Finally, remember your lips! Use a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your lips from sun damage.
Sunscreen Is Not Seasonal
It’s important to remember that sunscreen isn’t just for summer; the sun’s UV rays can harm your skin at any time of year, even when the sky is cloudy. Sand, water, and snow reflect sunlight, increasing your chances of getting sunburned. Use sunscreen during your outdoor activities all year round to protect your skin from sun damage.
When possible, seek out shade to decrease the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight. Although shade will help, remember that it won’t provide complete protection from the sun’s damaging rays. You will still need to use sunscreen to protect your skin.
We’ve reviewed how to prevent sun damage, but what can you do about skin that is already damaged? Unsightly wrinkles and age spots caused by sun damage can be treated. At DermaHealth Laser & Skin Care Clinic, we can improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin. We offer topical bleaching creams, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser treatments with excellent results. When you are ready to erase sun-damage and other signs of aging, call us at 417-447-7777 or schedule a free consultation online to determine which line of treatment is best for you.