5 Tips to Protecting Skin from UV Rays | July is UV Safety Month
Protecting your skin from the sun’s rays is a year-round priority. Any skin care expert will tell you that wearing SPF on a daily basis - yes, even in the winter - is a non-negotiable when it comes to protection and anti-aging.
With July being UV Safety Month, we are raising awareness of the real dangers of skin exposure to UV and how to prevent them.
Let’s start by understanding how UV rays interact with skin.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are emitted by the sun, as well as artificial sources such as indoor lamps and tanning beds. Since the Earth’s ozone layer effectively blocks UVC rays, UVA and UVB rays are the culprits causing damage to our skin.
How damaging are UV rays?
Very. Overexposure to UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer. UV radiation ultimately causes DNA damage, or mutations. Without being “instructed” on how to behave properly, cells can multiply rapidly, causing cancer.
Are UV rays present in screen light?
While TV’s, smartphones and other screens emit UV rays, they are not strong enough to cause damage. However, High Energy Violet (HEV) rays or blue light, cause the same damage to skin as UV rays. Considering the amount of time most people spend in front of screens, some medical experts consider HEV light to be an even bigger concern. That’s why blue light protection serums that also offer SPF protection are an important part of your skincare routine.
Is UV radiation worse in the summer?
UV rays reach the Earth’s service year-round, even on cloudy days, which is why it is crucial to wear sunscreen daily. You may get more exposure to UV rays in the summer because more of your skin may be exposed. Keep in mind that UV rays go through windows as well, so even if you are not outside, they are reaching you.
How to Protect Skin from UV Damage
Wear Sunscreen or Sunblock
Both sunscreens and sunblocks protect you from UV rays, but in different ways. Regardless of which you choose, it is important to apply SPF 30 to exposed skin on a daily basis year-round. A daily sunscreen serum can make that easy.
A chemical sunscreen, presented both in lotion and spray forms, protects skin from UV rays by absorbing into the skin, absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat, which is then released from the body.
Chemical sunscreens can contain ingredients that have been linked to hormone-disruption and cancer, which is why we prefer physical sunscreens, or sunblocks. All chemical sunscreens must be cleared by the FDA.
Also called a mineral sunscreen, it blocks UV rays from the skin. They are made with active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, requiring no testing.
While either ingredient can protect you from both UV rays, zinc oxide has been recognized to cover a broader range of the spectrum. The ideal mineral sunscreen for the face offers SPF 30 protection, blue light protection, Vitamin C to fight damaging free radicals from UV rays and other environmental factors, as well as other nourishing ingredients.
CHEMICAL V. PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN: WHICH ONE IS BEST?
PUT ON A HAT
The scalp can easily get sunburn which can lead to a variety of painful issues. Don't forget to pack your hat if you're heading outside during the summer. For bonus protection points, look for a hat with a brim of at least 2-3 inches around the head to shield your ears, scalp, and forehead from the sun.
CHOOSE YOUR OUTFIT WISELY
In the summer, you should take greater care in choosing your clothing when you go out with friends. Consider wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts to shield your skin from the sun's rays if you spend most of your time outside. While thinking of covering up during the summer sounds counterintuitive, it’s the most sure way of blocking UV rays.
REMEMBER YOUR SUNGLASSES
If you wish to shield your eyes from the sun's UV and direct rays, remember to wear your sunglasses. UV rays can also damage your eyes, and proper eyewear that offers protection from both UVA + UVB rays can lower your risk of developing cataracts.
The greatest option for stopping UV rays from entering from all sides is a pair of wrap-around sunglasses.
Not that type of shady! Pack an umbrella or a tent for the beach if you plan to stay longer than an hour. Remember to still apply sunblock and wear protective clothing even when in the shade as UV rays can be reflected from water or other objects.
Stay safe! Wear SPF 30 mineral sunblock.