Why Sunscreen is Critical

Why Sunscreen is Critical to your Health and Wellness

Most of us make the effort to apply sunscreen at least once while at the beach, pool or field. But many of us don’t reapply often enough throughout the day. And many don’t wear it at all once summer is over.

This is a mistake. Sunscreen should be considered a critical preventative health care habit. 80% of the sun’s UV rays pass through clouds year-round, therefore sunscreen should be applied daily, in all seasons and all weather. Here’s why:

It reduces your risk of developing deadly cancer.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is mainly caused by exposure to the sun’s UVA rays. This sunlight radiation damages the genetic material of skin cells, causing them to mutate and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors. Sunscreen protects your skin from absorbing harmful UV rays, dramatically decreasing your risk of developing skin cancer.

It keeps you looking youthful.

Sun exposure is also the primary cause of premature visible aging of your skin, including wrinkles, discoloration, and uneven texture. Over time, the sun’s UVB rays weaken the elasticity of the skin, causing it to sag, stretch and wrinkle. It can also cause uneven skin tone and irregular pigmentation. Wearing sunscreen slows down the development of wrinkles, discoloration, and sagging skin and help you look younger, longer.

It protects you against sunburn

A Sunburn — red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch — is a first-degree burn caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet sunlight. It usually appears within a few hours and can take several days or longer to fade. A good sunscreen will block the UV rays that cause sunburns and skin cell damage that can lead to skin cancer.

When selecting a sunscreen, make sure the label says:

  • Broad spectrum: The words “broad spectrum” means that the sunscreen can protect your skin from both types of harmful UV rays — the UVA rays and the UVB rays.
  • SPF 30 or higher: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
  • Water resistant: Dermatologists also recommend that you look for the words “water resistant.” This tells you that the sunscreen will stay on wet or sweaty skin for a while before you need to reapply. Water resistance lasts either 40 or 80 minutes. Not all sunscreens offer water resistance.

How should sunscreens be applied?

Sunscreens are very effective, but only when it is used properly. Here are some guidelines:

  • Apply 20 to 30 minutes before you go outdoors
  • Apply at least one ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) to the body and another teaspoon-full to the face
  • Reapply every 2 hours
  • Cover all exposed areas, including your ears, lips, face, hands, and feet
  • Apply sunscreen under makeup

Wearing sunscreen every day protects your appearance and your health, so make it a habit, like brushing your teeth.

Questions or Concerns?

Contact us!  Our top-notch dermatology team can help. Call 410.296.0414 for your appointment today.


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