From spring training games to teeing up for golf, it’s that time of year in the Valley when we begin to spend more time outdoors. Even though the temperatures are cool, we still need to protect our skin from the effects of the sun. While catching too many rays can lead to sun damage, premature aging, wrinkles and cancer, there are ways to soak up some vitamin D safely. Scottsdale-based Dr. Pablo Prichard outlines three ways to keep your skin healthy while enjoying time outside.
Choose the Right Sunscreen and Use Correctly
What many don’t realize is that all sunscreen isn’t created equally. One of the most effective is a full-spectrum sunscreen that has at least SPF (sun protection factor) 30 because it blocks the largest range of UV (ultraviolet rays). In addition to protecting your skin from direct sunlight, you also need to consider a sunscreen that protects from reflected UVR (ultraviolet radiation) from surfaces like water, sand and concrete. Look for sunscreens that contain minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Those ingredients work immediately on application and to physically block and reflect the UV rays off the skin. Other ingredients like Oxibenzone, Oxtinoxate and Avobenzone chemically block UV rays, but are only effective 30 minutes after application. As a rule of thumb, be sure to apply anytime you’re outside and reapply every two hours, and if a chemical block rather than a physical block, apply 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun. Sunscreens to try: Elta MD Skincare, Alastin Skincare and Vivify
Pair It with Protective Clothing
Like a sunscreen’s SPF, there is clothing made with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) fabric. While UPF clothing provides the highest level of protection for your skin, some pieces of your everyday clothing can provide an extra layer of protection. For example, consider choosing a long-sleeve darker piece of clothing which covers more of the skin and absorbs more UV rays than lighter colors. Also, avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes as the stretch of the fabric can allow more UV rays to pass through to your skin. A wide-brim hat is a great option to shield both your face and ears from the sun. UPF clothing to try: Patagonia, Coolibar, L.L. Bean and Athleta
Avoid Peak Hours
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so it’s important to avoid the sun during that time. Don’t let a cloudy day trick you into staying in the sun during peak hours; the UV rays are just as harmful even when it’s not sunny outside. If possible, schedule outdoor time outside of those hours or be sure to stay in an area that’s properly shaded to prevent sun damage.
Don’t let the excitement of enjoying the cooler weather fool you into skipping sunscreen. If you’re not careful, the sun can do both short and long-term damage. Take a few extra minutes when planning for your next outdoor activity, and you’ll enjoy healthier skin in return.