Summer is over, do you really need to keep up your sunscreen regimen? The short answer is: yes. Not only does applying sunscreen help you avoid skin cancer in any season, but there are other benefits to shielding your body’s largest organ from the full effects of the sun (even in winter!).
No matter how good it feels to soak up some vitamin D, the sun also does some real damage to your skin. It causes wrinkles, burns, discoloration, and could even lead to melanoma. That’s why you must stick to a sunscreen regimen to protect yourself from both signs of aging and serious medical conditions.
Here are 7 reasons why sunscreen is good for all skin types, and why you should always wear it.
1. UV rays can penetrate clouds
Unless you are completely in the shade, UV rays pose a risk. Yep, the sun can even cause a burn or other sun damage on a cloudy day.
And please don’t use temperature as an indicator of whether you need sunscreen. We all remember to throw on SPF when it’s 80 degrees and we’re headed to the beach — and often forget when the temperatures drop. You need sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors just to be safe.
2. UVB rays cause wrinkles and skin damage
UVB rays are shorter than UVA rays, and they are the most responsible for sunburns. UVB rays are also one of the main culprits for wrinkles, loss of collagen, and other skin aging issues.
Keep your skin looking taut and youthful by staying protected from UVB rays. Since you’re likely in the sun most days of the year, it’s wise to protect your skin daily with a sunscreen-based make-up foundation or other lotion.
3. UVA rays can burn you through windows
UVA rays also cause their own damage. These rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays and also contribute to skin aging and skin cancer. What’s more, there are about 500 times more UVA rays in sunlight than UVB rays.
Oh, and UVA rays can also penetrate through windows. If you spend a lot of time in a car or sitting next to a picture window at work, then sunscreen is a must. Your windows will protect you from UVB rays, but not UVA rays.
4. Sun damage is cumulative — and never takes a break
Sunlight does cumulative damage to your skin over the course of your life. And about 23% of lifetime exposure happens by age 18. Wearing sunscreen every day is the most effective way to reduce the effects the sun has on your skin for the long haul. You can’t reverse all the damage you’ve already done, but you can reduce sunburns and wrinkles in the future by being diligent about SPF.
5. Skin cancer affects 1 in 5 Americans
A whopping 20% of Americans will have skin cancer by the age of 70. When you leave your skin vulnerable to burns and prolonged sun exposure, you’re more likely to be among them. And contrary to popular belief, getting a “base tan” at the start of summer does not help you prevent severe burns or melanoma. On the contrary, being protected by sunscreen every day helps you avoid all three major types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Be honest — do you forgo it when you go for a quick jog? Time to usher in some new habits.
6. Sunburns increase your chances of cancer even more
If you’re not careful, you could increase your chances of developing cancer with just a handful of major sunburns. Women who get just five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 are 80% more likely to get melanoma than women who have not experienced extreme burns.
This fact makes daily sunscreen extremely important for young people — but also a vital daily routine at any age. Just a few serious burns can make all the difference in the world for the health of your skin.
7. Sunscreen can hydrate your skin
When people ask “Is sunscreen good for skin?,” they may be concerned about certain chemicals. The good news is that there is no evidence that the most common sunscreen ingredients — including oxybenzone — are bad for humans. And, on the contrary, the right sunscreen can also help hydrate your skin. Choose a sunscreen with shea butter or oils like avocado oil to allow your daily sunscreen to keep your skin from drying out during the day.
How to use sunscreen
Sunscreen is a great skin protector and, when combined with one of the best clearing skin treatments, can become an anti-aging cure. But only if you use it correctly. You might be surprised how many sunscreen myths are out there! Don’t worry, we’re here to be your friendly myth busters.
Here are some quick tips for proper sunscreen usage.
- Use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 when you’re outdoors, which will protect against 97% of UVB rays
- Use enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass when you need to cover your entire body, like when you go to the beach or spend a day at the pool
- Reapply your sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after swimming or profusely sweating
- Don’t forget to cover your ears, the top of your feet, and other easy-to-forget patches of skin when you’re applying sunscreen
- Add a hat to your sunscreen routine, especially if you have thinning hair, because 10% of melanomas occur on the scalp
Sunscreen can prevent cancer, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. It protects against both UVA and UVB rays, the former of which penetrates the deeper layers of the skin. How much sunscreen do you need? Stick with at least SPF 30 and use enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass to cover your body. And, remember that sunlight can penetrate windows and clouds. This makes everyday sunscreen use essential.