As the summer sun heats up, be sure to replenish last year’s supply of sunscreen and find a routine that will protect you and your family’s skin from harmful UV rays.

Despite extensive research surrounding sun-induced skin damage, the 2020 RealSelf Sun Safety Report found that only 11 percent of Americans wear sunscreen daily, and 46 percent never wear sunscreen at all. If you are a part of half of the population not using sunscreen to protect your skin, here are some key reasons why you might reconsider:

1. Sunscreen blocks harmful skin-damaging light.

Painful sunburns or sun blisters are caused by UVA and UVB sun rays that reach the earth. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and cause tanning but also damage the collagen fibers in the skin which leads to de-elasticity and wrinkles. UVB rays damage the top layer of the skin, causing sunburn, sub blisters, and can lead to cancer. Broad-spectrum sunscreen can block both UVA and UVB rays, providing the most protection.

2. Sunscreen can prevent skin cancers and pre-cancers.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, wearing a minimum of 15 SPF sunscreen daily can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40%, and lower your risk of developing melanoma by about 50%.

3. Sunscreen can keep your skin from aging prematurely.

Not only will the sun damage the collagen and tissues in your skin, creating wrinkles, but prolonged exposure to the sun without protection can cause premature aging and areas of hyperpigmentation, or patches of discoloration on the skin, also known as “sun spots” as well as weakened blood vessels and veins.

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention estimates that one in five Americans develops skin cancer. Our best method for preventing any type of skin cancer at this time is the regular use of sunscreen. Here are some key facts about choosing the best sunscreen:

  • Use a sunscreen with a minimum of 15 SPF
  • Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside
  • Reapply sunscreen directly after sweating or swimming
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours
  • A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays
  • Apply a generous amount

Should you suffer a sunburn this summer, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends these simple methods to alleviate pain and swelling:

  • Take frequent cool showers or baths
  • Apply a moisturizer that contains aloe or soy on damp skin to ease dry skin
  • Drink extra water to prevent dehydration
  • Wear loose clothing that won’t rub or tear sensitive skin
  • Consider taking Advil or ibuprofen to ease swelling and discomfort

Erin Clifford, the founder of Erin Clifford Wellness, provides holistic health coaching to individuals and corporations, supporting real and lasting lifestyle changes to lead to healthier and happier lives. You can make a long-term difference in your health today by finding a daily sunscreen that works for you!

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