Holiday season is here again! Whether you are heading for a warm sunny beach getaway, mountain hiking or a snowy winter ski holiday; don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and sunglasses. Fresh snow reflects up to 80% of incident UV rays compared to approximately 15% by sand and 10% by grass and water.
The UV rays, primarily UVA and UVB are known to cause premature aging, wrinkling, tanning and sun-burn. Excessive exposure to these rays have been found to cause damage to skin DNA and can result in mutations which could lead to certain type of skin cancers. Therefore, it is always important to select a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides protection to both UVA and UVB with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Many of us unfortunately do not reapply sunscreen as often as we should – one single application is simply not sufficient for an entire day outdoors.
Sun protection factor or SPF is a measure of protection towards UVB provided by a sunscreen product. Assuming that reddening happens after a certain duration of UV exposure in the absence of sun protection, proper application sunscreen with SPF of 15 prolongs this time to reddening of skin by 15 times under the same conditions. The duration of exposure resulting in sunburn however, depends on many factors such as skin fairness, the environment (latitude, altitude, season, ground reflection) and time of the day at which skin is exposed to sun.
Many of us unfortunately do not reapply sunscreen as often as we should – one single application is simply not sufficient for an entire day outdoors. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that sunscreen is applied to dry skin at least 15 minutes before exposure and to be reapplied every 2 hours or more frequent if you are sweating profusely or in constant contact with water. It should also be reapplied after every towel drying. Always refer to the package instructions on advice for reapplication as there may be different instructions depending on the formulation. It is also worth noting that an average adult in swimwear should use approximately 1 oz. of sunscreen for full body coverage. Don’t forget less conspicuous areas such as the back of the neck, ears (not the ear canal), top of feet and around the armpits if these areas are exposed.
Remember to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin and lip balm with SPF to the lips before your next outdoor adventure. It is wise to also pack a small bottle with you for reapplication.
Here are some awesome advice on taking care of your skin.
- Belkin M et al. (1995) Protection Against Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation. https://dosinghealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/proUVrad.pdf
- US FDA. (2017) Sunscreen: How to Help Protect Your Skin from the Sun. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/ucm239463.htm
- Skin cancer Foundation. (2012) Sunscreen. https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen
- American Association of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQ. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs