Used correctly, sunscreen protects your skin by offering the best protection possible from the UV rays given off by the sun. You should always make sure that you choose one with a sun protection factor (SPF) that will give good protection for your type of skin. You should also remember that no matter how strong your sunscreen is, it won’t work if you don’t put it on.
Try to get yourself into the habit of putting on sunscreen whenever you go outside, and putting more on when it is required, as the UV rays are still just as strong on cloudy days as they are on sunny ones. The sun’s rays can also reflect off many surfaces such as cement and snow, so you are never safe.
Most sunscreen protection products are only designed for application on the skin, but what about the rest of your body?
The sun also causes serious problems in places like the lips, eyes and hair.
UV rays are a proven cause of cataracts, and the lips will burn very easily because they are so thin and have no pigmentation. This leaves you with dry lips, which look and feel horrible. To deal with this, some lip balms and lipsticks now have a SPF of around 15, which should be adequate for this area.
Hair can also come under attack from the sun, although we are often unaware, as the effects are never felt. However, it is easy to see the effects — your hair will go dry, wiry and dull, and if you’re going swimming in the heat to cool down, pool chemicals will just make it worse.
While sunscreen protects your skin, there are many simpler ways of protecting yourself from the sun than using some advanced lotion from a bottle. Clothing, sunglasses and hats are equally as important in blocking out UV, as is being in the shade at whatever time it’s possible.
For people who spend a lot of time outdoors, there are now many clothes in stores that have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). These are sleek, practical and protect you from the sun. These types of clothes are available for people of all shapes and sizes including children, but they come at a cost. If you have a tighter budget, material that is tightly woven and dark in color is good at protecting from the sun. Make sure your clothes are dry, as wet clothes do not give as much protection. If you can bear it, long clothes obviously work better, but in the hot weather this may be a bit extreme.
Wearing hats will protect most of your head; eyes, face, hair and ears. Those with wide brims are the best and will even cool you down. You should always use sunglasses, but make sure the lenses have proper UV filters in them or they will be useless. As you might expect, big lenses are best, and wrap around lenses are also very good as they give the most protection.