Summertime Sun Safety

Summer is fast approaching, and that means we’ll be spending more time outdoors. Sunscreen and protective clothing should be key components of any plan to keep your skin safe from the sun’s potentially harmful effects—most notably, its ultraviolent (UV) rays.

Read on for advice from your skin experts at ֭Ƶ, whatever your skin type, age or family history of skin cancer.

Sunscreens

Dermatologists divide sunscreens into two categories: chemical sunscreens and mineral sunscreens. 

Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that absorb UV rays. UV rays can alter the DNA in your skin cells and lead to problems down the road. As well, when chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays, they convert UV light energy to heat, which can lead to allergic reactions and uneven pigmentation.

ѾԱ sܲԲԲ (look for zinc oxide o titanium dioxide on the back of the bottle) reflect the sun's rays away from the skin. They are inert, hypoallergenic, reef-safe and eco-friendly. They also happen to be the most effective.

In the past, mineral (zinc and titanium) sunscreens left a white or blue pasty film on the skin,” says Dr. Jack Levy, Assistant Attending Dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology at ֭Ƶ Medicine, “but newer formulations are less conspicuous and more breathable.

What’s more, tinted mineral sunscreens give added protection via microscopic pigment crystals that shield the skin from harmful rays. They also conceal blemishes. Look for tinted mineral sunscreens, designed to protect both lighter and darker skin tones, at your local pharmacy.

While your dermatologist may have a preference, the best sunscreen is the one dz’l use, so try a few until you find the one that feels best on your skin,” Dr. Levy advises. If that sunscreen doesn’t contain zinc or titanium, shoot for SPF 30 or higher.

And whatever sunscreen you choose, apply it frequently, even if it’s water resistant.

Clothing

For the youngest and fairest among us (redheads and blondes with blue eyes), consider wearing clothes ɾٳ UPF 50or higher when enjoying the outdoors. UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a clothing item’s UPF indicates how much UV radiation (both UVA and UVB) a fabric allows to reach your skin.

For example, a UPF 50 fabric blocks 98 percent of the sun's rays and allows two percent to penetrate, significantly reducing your exposure risk.

Stay out of the sun during peak daytime hours

Avoid the most direct UV rays between 10:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon. Outside of these hours, the sun’s rays are more gentle.

If you’ve been diagnosed ɾٳ ǰ, vپ or another inflammatory skin condition, dz’l find the sun’s early morning and evening rays improve your skin. That’s because UV light regulates and normalizes the human body's largest immune organ: your skin.

Gentle sun rays are also important for vitamin D production, mood elevation and regulation of your sleep cycle,” says Dr. Levy, “s don’t hide from the sun; enjoy it wisely.

For darker skin tones

If you’re brown-skinned or tan easily, the good news is your risk of skin cancer is lower than for lighter-skinned individuals. But it’s not zero. Consider regular sunscreen use for smoothing out your complexion, avoiding fine lines and ensuring that your natural, healthy glow shines all year round.

Stay well and safe

Whatever this summer holds, we want you stay healthy and safe. If you’ve had a personal or family history of skin cancer, be sure to follow up with your dermatologist for regular skin checks, preferably before your first major sun exposure,” he says.

The sun can make normal moles look scaryeven to your dermatologist. If you find any new, changing or unusual spots, regardless of your personal risk factors and the time of year, get them checked at least once.

Enjoy your summer!

Find a doctor at ֭Ƶ if you have any questions during your summer vacation travels.

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