UV Safety Month

July is UV Safety Month! People often view sunscreen as a thing to pack on long hiking trips and to spray on before heading to the pool. However, sunscreen should be a part of your everyday routine, all year round.

Why is sunscreen important?

There are two reasons to wear sunscreen: health and vanity. From a health standpoint, protecting yourself from the sun prevents cancers in the eyes, lips, and skin. No amount of sun exposure is safe. Some people can develop skin cancer with minimal sun exposure while others never develop sun-caused cancer. 

But the sun doesn’t just cause cancer; it also causes aging. Signs of photoaging are wrinkles, loss of elasticity in the skin, and sunspots. It’s common, especially for women, to begin cosmetic procedures in their thirties as signs of aging begin to appear on the skin. But those signs of aging can be prevented by wearing sunscreen and UV protective clothing. Opt for fake tanning solutions to get that summer glow without the sun damage.

Photo of truck driver

The above photo shows the face of a truck driver after 28 years of work. The left side of his face was exposed to the most sunlight. Although filtered through a window, the UV rays were still able to penetrate and cause damage to the skin. You can see the aging effects of this long-term sun exposure.

How can I find the right sunscreen for me?

There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. Think UVA for aging and UVB for burning, though both contribute to the development of skin cancer. Some sunscreens don’t protect from both kinds of rays. No matter which kind of sunscreen you choose, make sure it offers broad-spectrum protection to guarantee its effectiveness.

Sunscreens fall into one of two categories: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays, converting them into heat, and releasing them away from the body. Look for avobenzone, octinoxate or oxybenzone on the active ingredients list to find a chemical sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens work by creating a barrier between the sun and your skin that reflects UV rays away from you. Mineral sunscreens usually have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

The advantage to chemical sunscreens is their smooth, glowy finish. They go under makeup easily. However, oily skin types may be prone to breaking out with chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens have a matte finish, but can be too drying for dry skin types. They also often leave a white cast on the skin, especially on darker skin tones. 

As you have fun this summer, don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun by wearing UV protection!

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