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    The Do's and Don'ts of Sun Exposure

      |  May 23, 2023

    With temperatures rising, you may be looking forward to sunny brunches and beach vacations. While getting sun can be beneficial and provide you with valuable vitamin D, too much exposure can be harmful, increasing your risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Keep warm-weather days sunny and carefree by learning the do’s and don’ts of sun protection before going out. 


    Apply and reapply sunscreen with proper SPF protection

    Wear sunscreen every day, even if it's overcast. Look for products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply SPF to all exposed areas, especially the face, neck, and hands, and reapply throughout the day.

    For your face, use products that are fast-absorbing and non-oily. If you have sensitive or blemish-prone skin, try a 100% mineral sunscreen, which uses zinc oxide to reflect and disperse UVA and UVB rays. If you have a darker skin tone and are concerned about white cast, try a clear UV broad spectrum sunscreen that uses chemical filters for protection. Chemical sunscreens absorb radiation before it reaches your skin.

    Use hats, sunglasses, and lightweight clothing for added protection

    Amplify your SPF sun protection with the right clothing and accessories. Wear a hat with a broad brim to shade your face, plus sunglasses to shield your eyes and the delicate skin around them. Exposure to UV rays can increase your risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, so those oversized sunglasses do more than look fabulous.

    Try to cover your body with loose, lightweight, breathable clothing in light colors that reflect the sun instead of absorbing its rays. White, beige, and tan are great for sunny days, as are breathable fabrics, like linen.

    Recognize and treat the signs of sun damage

    Even if you take precautions, sun damage can build up over time. You may notice discoloration, dark spots, and fine lines and wrinkles over time. These can all indicate sun exposure, but sun aftercare products can help minimize these effects.

    A Tretinoin cream is one option. Tretinoin is 20 times more powerful than over-the-counter retinol and helps boost collagen production, stimulate cell renewal, and reduce pore size. It also addresses signs of sun exposure, like discoloration.


    Go in direct sunlight when UV exposure is strongest

    Even with protective efforts like those described above, it's best to avoid the sun when it's at its strongest. UV rays tend to be the most potent between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to limit your outside time during these hours.

    If that isn't possible, find shade. If you know you're going to a location where shade isn't readily available, like the beach, consider bringing an umbrella or tent. Stay hydrated and continue reapplying sunscreen throughout the day; every two hours is usually sufficient, but you might want to apply as often as every 80 minutes if you’re sweating or going in the water.

    Skip protection to develop a base tan

    Despite there being ample evidence that excess sun exposure is damaging, some people still seek out sunshine. One reason is the desire for a tan. While bronzed skin may look "healthy" or "attractive," it's simply another sign of sun damage.

    Some people also buy into the myth that a base tan prevents burning by acclimating the skin to UV rays. In reality, a base tan doesn't protect you at all. It's the equivalent of going out in the sun wearing sunscreen with SPF 3 or 4.

    Use expired sunscreen

    Sunscreen isn't made to last forever. Once sunscreen has expired, it no longer effectively protects against sunburns and skin cancer. It's basically the same as putting on regular moisturizer.

    Always check a sunscreen's expiration date, which should be printed on the bottle. To help preserve sunscreen's potency, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Finally, firmly close the lid on the sunscreen when not in use.

    Follow these sun protection do's and don'ts to keep your skin safe and healthy. For more products and services to help address premature aging associated with sun exposure, visit Modern Age for a free consultation. Our clinicians will discuss your skin health concerns and recommend the products and services that will keep you looking and feeling refreshed.