Summer is here, and in Florida, that usually equates to numerous trips to the beach. If you have ever been sunburnt, you know how painful and uncomfortable it can be. I am here to help you prevent sunburn this summer. Continuous overexposure to the sun can lead to a lifetime of negative side effects, including premature aging, wrinkled skin, and even skin cancer. These byproducts of the sun can be avoided by simple precautionary measures.
- Wear Sunscreen
As simple as this sounds, many people disregard this easy step of sun protection. Whether you are in the sun for a few minutes or a few hours, wearing sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher will help shield your skin from harmful rays. One of the most important things to remember is that you can still get sunburnt on cloudy days. I recommend wearing sunscreen every day, even if you do not plan to be in the sun for long periods of time. This preventative measure will ensure that your skin does not get burnt. The key to wearing sunscreen is reapplication. After a few hours, sunscreen wears off, so don't forget to reapply every hour or so.
- Wear Makeup with SPF
If you wear foundation on your face, make sure it has SPF protection. As well, wear chapstick with sun protection. When buying these products, make sure they have SPF. This is a simple way to ensure daily that your face is protected from the sun. Wearing makeup with SPF will help prevent wrinkling and premature aging on your face.
- Avoid Tanning Beds
No matter what tanning companies might tell you, tanning beds are in no way healthy for your skin. They are essentially skin cancer traps. I do not recommend ever using a tanning bed.
- Sit in the Shade
If you are at the beach and worry about sunburn, seek shade. One way to do this is by sitting under an umbrella. Also, you could wear a hat to protect your face from the sun. Following these precautions will relieve your skin from exposure to harmful UV rays.
- Cover Up
Although you may not want to wear clothes at the beach, one way to protect your skin from the sun is to cover up. A plain white t-shirt has around SPF 7. While darker colored clothing may attract more heat and make you hotter, it has more sun protection than lighter colored clothing. Simply wearing a t-shirt at the beach will greatly defend your skin from the sun's rays.
Make sure you inspect your skin for signs of burn after exposure to the sun. You should see your physician yearly for a skin exam.
Les Wilson, M.D.