As the days warm up, our social calendars see an increase in activity, too. And most of it is outside in the much-welcomed nicer weather. Think neighborhood barbecues, outdoor markets, music festivals, family trips and more.
And while you’re planning those springtime outfits or what to pack in a day bag or picnic basket, sunscreen should be at the top of the list. Because even if you aren’t heading to the beach, you’re still encountering ultraviolet rays in the backyard, on the patio of your favorite restaurant or even on a lunchtime walk outside the office.
Here’s how you can choose the best sunscreen to use every day:
- Aim for a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen. This type of sunscreen guards against both UVB rays (the kind that cause sunburns) and UVA rays (the kind that contribute to skin cancer and premature aging).
- Check the label for a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. While some SPF labels go all the way to 100, an SPF 30 filters out about 97% of harmful rays. That means the difference in filtering between SPF 30 and SPF 100 is minimal, though you may want to use a higher SPF if spending longer periods of time in direct sunlight. Keep in mind, though, that no sunscreen will protect you completely.
- No sunscreens are waterproof, only water resistant. Reapply often, such as every two hours or less if you are doing a lot of swimming and/or sweating.
- Apply at least an ounce of sunscreen to your face, neck, arms and legs. Aim for 1.5 ounces (or roughly a shot glass) of sunscreen for all over protection if you’re at the beach or by the pool.
- Most sunscreens will expire after two or three years. If it’s been sitting in your hot car all summer, it has likely expired much quicker.
- You can apply sunscreen to dry skin before putting on makeup or moisturizer, but most dermatologists agree the order of the routine doesn’t matter as long as the sunscreen is broad spectrum, water resistant and at least SPF 30.
Besides applying (and reapplying) sunscreen throughout the day, you should also limit your exposure to direct sunlight when outdoors. Seek shady spots at outdoor festivals or head inside for a bite to eat during the warmest part of the day. Wear hats and sunglasses that block out at least 99% of UV light. Try to cover up as much skin as possible, though we know that’s hard to do in the Louisiana heat.
Following these tips can help you continue to enjoy those springtime activities with your family for years to come.
More Useful Information About Protecting Your Skin
Why You Should See a Dermatologist
The 3 Major Types of Skin Cancer