We have stated the basics of sunscreen many times, and we all know that applying it (and re-applying it) are necessary in order to fend off UV rays and their subsequent damage. And if you are using a tanning bed, we would like to take a moment to beg, plead, and implore you to stop. The number of countries banning the use of tanning beds for anyone under 18 continues to rise, and the damage caused is so severe that tanning beds have been classified as a known carcinogen by the The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
So now that you understand the importance of daily sunscreen and avoiding tanning beds, what more can you do? It turns out there are a few basic rules that go the extra mile to provide adequate sun protection for your skin.
Aim high with SPF
Most of us reach for the bottle without giving the SPF number a second glance. And while there isn't a dramatic difference in the amount of coverage provided as the number climbs, how it is applied is an important consideration with SPF. The average amount applied by most users is drastically less than what is intended for maximum protection, and when you apply a thin layer of sunscreen before hitting the beach, chances are it isn't providing you with the coverage you need to stay protected. Keep the SPF at a minimum of 30 and apply a thick layer.
Broad spectrum is a must
Why protect against only one type of harmful UV rays when there are actually two doing the damage? Sunscreens are primarily formulated to block out UVB rays, however, with an increasing understanding of the role UVA rays play in causing skin cancer and premature aging, it is vital to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks out UVA and UVB rays simultaneously.
Antioxidant infused sunscreens are best
Antioxidants provide an extra layer of protection by neutralizing harmful UV rays before cells begin to incur damage. Not to mention the added health benefits, antioxidants provide your skin with a boosting layer of defense that will aid in preventing premature aging.
Did we mention you should stop tanning?
Stop going out in the sun without sunscreen, stop using tanning beds...please, please stop. Self tanners have come a long way in the last 20 years, and gone are the days of orange and unevenly garish streaks that take weeks to wear off. If you are seeking that natural summer glow, spray tans are the best way to achieve your desired look without any UV damage. If getting enough vitamin D is of concern to you, it can be safely purchased from your local vitamin store.
Fortunately, there are many options available for sun protection for every skin type, so find out which one works best for you and use it in your everyday routine.