Sun damage is about more than painful summer sunburns. Lines, wrinkles, cellulite, and even deadly cancers are all caused by improper skin protection. Although most people know to put on sunscreen while lounging on a beach, they probably don't know just how much sun protection one needs to prevent sun damage, and the true importance of regular sunscreen use.
For sunscreen and sunblock, protection is measured in SPF, or "Skin Protection Factor." The SPF of a product tells the fraction of UV rays that get through it to damage your skin, so that in a sunblock with an SPF of 20, one twentieth of the suns' rays are reaching your skin. For a sunscreen to be most effective, dermatologists say it should be at least SPF 30.
Sunscreen should also be applied more heavily than one might assume. Experts agree that the average individual should apply an entire ounce of sunscreen to cover their exposed body. Considering the size of many bottles, it makes practical sense to stock up on sunscreen in bulk from a supplier like Rocky Mountain Sunscreen. Small amounts of sunscreen simply aren't enough to offer full protection against dangerous UV rays. To guarantee effectiveness, be sure to put the sunscreen on at least 15 minutes before going out into the sun.
Over time, the sunscreen will begin to wear off. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or bathing. While waterproof and water resistant formulas help slow down the damage, sunscreen still must be reapplied regularly. If it isn't possible to regularly reapply one's sunscreen, that area should instead be protected with sun resistant clothing.
Finally, in a rush to cover their arms and legs, some people neglect to protect their most sensitive facial features. Eyelids can't handle sunscreen and should be protected with sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Lips should be protected with a lip balm that is SPF 15 or higher. Ears, neck, hairline and even one's scalp all also need sunscreen protection, whether in lotion or stick form.
Considering the destruction that sun damage inflicts on skin health, a good skin defense is a necessity. Both UVA rays, which cause aging, and UVB rays, which cause sunburns, also cause skin cancer. Using enough sunscreen with a high SPF, reapplying it regularly, and covering all areas, can truly save your skin.