Sun Safety | theSkimm

Sun Safety

Published on: Jul 3, 2019fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round

Over the summer, you guys couldn't get enough of our sun safety guide. Whether you're spending the holidays in the sun or planning your next beach trip, here’s how to make sure you’re giving your skin some TLC.

Sun safety
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The Story

It’s officially swimsuit season. Meaning: buns out, and your skin needs extra attention.

The Why

Sun exposure (not just a burn) can prematurely age your skin and lead to skin cancer like melanoma, one of the most common cancers in young women. Sunscreen can help protect you, no matter your race or skin type. If you need more convincing to slather on, there’s also evidence that sunscreen helps prevent your skin from aging. Hello, OG wrinkle cream.

The Fine Print

Here’s what to look for on a bottle:

1. SPF. It stands for ‘sun protection factor.’ And ups your skin’s natural ability to fight against a burn. Docs recommend an SPF of 30 or more to use on the daily. Put on the recommended amount – around 1 oz to cover your whole body, aka a shot glass. Re-apply after a few hours.

2. Broad spectrum. If you want it to protect your skin from aging, it’s got to have UVA coverage. UVA = the sneaky rays that go deep in your skin, and can cause wrinkles (think: ‘a’ for aging). UVB = the shorter UV rays that make you reach for aloe (think: ‘b’ for burn).

  • For future reference: The SPF number only refers to protection from UVB rays. So look for “broad spectrum” to make sure you’re getting UVA coverage, too.

3. The active ingredients list. This especially matters for people with sensitive skin. There are two kinds of sunscreens: “physical” and “chemical.” The bottle won’t often say which kind it is. You have to look at the active ingredients list.

  • Physical sunscreens act like a mirror, bouncing UV rays away from your skin. They’re better for people with sensitive skin but can leave a white tint on your face. If you need this, look for the words “zinc oxide” or “titanium dioxide” on the bottle.

  • Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays so your skin doesn’t have to. They’re often better for people with less sensitive skin who don’t want the white tint. If it’s a chemical sunscreen, you might see “zinc oxide” and “titanium dioxide” on the bottle, but you’ll also see other active ingredients – like avobenzone or homosalate.

The Options

Not all sunscreens are created equal. Here are our picks for the ones that can take the heat.

theSkimm

A holiday weekend might mean lots of quality time with the sun. Make sure you’re protecting your skin. You’ll thank us later.


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