You’re outside having a great time in the sun when suddenly you notice both your arms and legs are sun burnt red. You said, “I don’t need sunscreen I never burn,” but now you are paying for it. The importance of sunscreen goes far beyond preventing your skin from burning.
Overtime, an individual who uses sunscreen versus one who doesn’t will begin to show differences in the look and feel of skin. Along with sunburn, overexposure to the sun without sun screen can lead to accelerated aging of the skin, wrinkling, and an increased risk of contracting melanoma.
Sunscreen also protects against harmful UV rays as well as others including UVA, UVB, and UVC.
- UVA rays lead to the accelerated aging of your skin and are the most common of the three sun rays.
- UVB are the most powerful between the times of 10am and 4pm and are most commonly associated with sunburn and cancer.
- UVC rays never reach the earth’s surface as there are filtered by the ozone layer.
The best time to apply sunscreen is 25-30 minutes before you are exposed to the sun. This is recommended as it gives the sunscreen the best chance to be absorbed into your skin. If you are swimming or participating in physical activity, it is necessary to reapply as needed. If you are going to be outside for a number of hours, apply sunscreen throughout the day and where protective clothing if needed.