The Importance of Wearing Sunscreen

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It’s not just a looks thing, it’s also a health thing.

I have had to endure truly awful sunburns on more than a few occasions throughout my life. I’m a pretty pale person in general, which unfortunately means I can tolerate very little direct sunlight in the summer months. But with the summer months nearly upon us, there’s a good chance everyone will be running around outside without a care in the world. By all means, enjoy the warm summer sun. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.

While sunlight helps your body process vitamin D, among other benefits, too much of it can cause permanent damage to your skin. Obviously, there’s the primary concern of nasty sunburns, and they are absolutely terrible. But a bit of crispiness pales in comparison to genuine, scarring tissue damage that can result from overexposure. This is why proper sunscreen is an absolute must if you’re going to be spending any prolonged period in the sunshine.

There are a few factors that determine the effectiveness of your sunscreen. The one you’re probably most aware of is the SPF rating. Indeed, a lower SPF rating means slightly less protection, and if you have fairer skin, you should definitely use something with a higher rating like SPF 100. However, what’s actually more important than the SPF is how frequently you apply sunscreen, as well as how thoroughly. Something a lot of people forget is that one coat of sunscreen probably won’t last you the whole day, especially if you’re running around or going in water. There’s no such thing as “sweat-proof” or “waterproof” sunscreen; it’ll all come off on its own sooner or later. If you don’t reapply at regular intervals, then it won’t matter how much SPF you’ve got. You’ll burn all the same.

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You should also consider whether you’re using a spray sunscreen or a cream, and whether they’re physical or chemical in nature. Physical cream screens, while admittedly a bit dorky looking, completely repel the sun’s rays from your skin. Chemical screens are just as effective, but the way they work may cause irritation in certain skin types. You should try not to use spray screens, though, as they tend to be a bit uneven in their coverage. Nothing’s more annoying than thinking you covered your whole body, only to discover a big red patch later on where you missed a spot.