We’ve all heard of UV rays, but did you know that there are actually three main types: UVA, UVB, and UVC? It’s often that they’re lumped together, but they’re actually pretty different.
So let’s talk a little about UV rays. UVC rays are the most dangerous although they don’t actually reach the earth’s surface. UVB rays, which affect the epidermis, are a main cause of sunburn and is also a big cause of skin cancer; it can also play a part in premature skin aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. UVA rays, which can penetrate through glass, is what you’ll find used in tanning beds. It has a big effect on premature skin aging, and it may also play a part in skin cancers. About 95-percent of the UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface is UVA.
Sounds pretty scary, right? It’s important to know about the dangers, but it can be even more valuable to know how to do what you can to keep yourself safe from them, and the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself from the sun. The following are just three of the sunscreen steps to take.
Use Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
A broad spectrum sunscreen is one that can protect you from UVA and UVB rays. There are undoubtedly a lot of different sunscreen products that are lining store shelves, so when you’re searching for the one that’s best for you, look on the package to make sure that it says that it’s broad spectrum. You should also opt for SPF 30+.
Take Time to Apply Sunscreen Correctly
It’s great to wear sunscreen, but it’s not going to do as much good as it could if it’s not applied correctly. For example, you’ll want to make sure to get all the areas including ones that are often unintentionally skipped such as the ears, scalp, and the tops of the feet. It’s also best to apply sunscreen before you put your clothing on as the fabric can often get in the way from putting the product on evenly. Lastly, put sunscreen on about a half an hour before you’re ready to leave for the day, then again every couple of hours or if you’ve been swimming or you were sweating.
Use Sunscreen Year Round
You’re not alone if you’re one of the many who only stocks up on sunscreen once the weather starts taking a warmer turn in spring, then putting it away again once leaves start falling in autumn. However, UV rays are continuous during daylight hours throughout the year, including on cloudy days. It’s for this reason you’re going to want to keep up with applying sunscreen regardless of the season.
You can play a big part in protecting yourself from UV rays, but it’s not just about doing it some of the time, it’s an every day, every season practice you want to get into. It might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but you’re doing a great thing for your skin and health, and after awhile, all of the protective measures will be like second nature.