Dry, red, and wrinkly are not ways people usually describe their ideal suntan.... 

Summer is almost here, so it’s time to stock up on sunscreen! While sunscreen can help protect you from sunburn and skin cancer, it can also protect you from early signs of skin aging.

Wake Forest Baptist Center has some tips and tricks to help keep your skin safe this summer.

Common Misconceptions

If you have darker skin, you might think you can go sans-sunscreen…. THINK AGAIN!

“A common misconception is that if you have a darker skin tone you won’t get skin cancer or sun damage,” said Lindsay Strowd, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Although someone with a darker complexion has more natural skin protection, chronic ultraviolet (UV) exposure can still result in skin cancer, appearance of dark spots, age spots and wrinkles.”

Also, be careful when you are buying cosmetic SPF-infused products. According to Wake Forest, the amount you put on your skin for daily use might not be enough to actually get the quantity of SPF you want.

“One should not solely rely on makeup containing SPF as an appropriate means to protect the skin, especially for longer periods of sun exposure,” Strowd said.

Lastly, yes, you do need to wear sunscreen on cloudy days! UV rays can go through clouds and still cause a sunburn.

Sunscreen Safety

When should you put it on?

You should apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. Make sure to reapply every two hours, or after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

This is especially important between the suns peak hours which are from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

How much should you put on?

Use at least one ounce (or enough to fill a shot glass) on the entire body. At least a nickel-sized amount should go to your face.

If you have sensitive skin make sure you are looking for products that only contain the physical sunscreen agents zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as these are less likely to irritate the skin.

Does sunscreen expire?

YES IT DOES! If you do not see an expiration date on your sunscreen, that means it has a shelf life of less than three years. If it is exposed to high temperature, it is even less effective.

Never leave your sunscreen in a car.

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How To Dress The Part

Want more protection? Here are other clothes or accessories to wear according to Wake Forest:

  • Synthetic fibers (such as polyester and rayon) offer the greatest sun protection.
  • A brimmed hat that extends three inches or more all the way around helps shade the face, neck, ears and the top of the shoulders.
  • If wearing a baseball cap, apply sunscreen to ears and the back of neck.
  • Large-framed sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection against cataracts and the tender skin around eyes.
  • Consider garments labeled with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), which have been specially treated with chemical UV absorbers. UPF clothing is widely available at sporting goods stores.

Keep these tips and tricks in mind and you will have the perfect summer glow – without the skin damage.