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Tip of the Week: Sun Safety 101

It is no doubt everyone wants to be outside in this beautiful weather, but you have to be careful of the sun and its harmful UV rays.  Whether you are outside at the beach, out for a walk or doing yard work you have to protect your skin and your eyes from the sun.  Protecting your skin with clothing, sunscreen or staying in the shade can help tremendously.  However, do not mistake a cloudy day for shade; UV rays are strong enough to go through the clouds. 

There are many different sunscreens and when picking one that will work best for you, it is important to consider a few important factors while reading the labels.  There are organic and inorganic sunscreens. Organic sunscreen absorbs UV radiation and converts it into a small amount of heat whereas Inorganic sunscreens reflect and scatter UV radiation.  You should use broad spectrum sunscreens that protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.   Sunscreens cannot be labeled as sweat proof or water proof, but they can be labeled as resistant with such effects lasting 40-80 minutes.  When you use water resistant sunscreen you should always reapply immediately following swimming and drying off with a towel.  Make sure to check the expiration date on your sunscreens.  When deciding sprays verses lotions it is typically up to you.  If you do prefer the spray, just make sure you apply it heavily and evenly.  Lotions are good for applying to your face and if you have dry skin.  Always follow instructions when applying sunscreens. Anything listed as below 15 cannot claim to prevent anything but sunburn.  It is recommended not to use anything less than an SPF (sun protection factor) 30. 

Here are a few of the best sunscreens to use and why:

1.       La Roche- Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra light Sunscreen SPF 50- This is a silky formula that is non-irritating to the skin and it softly evens out imperfections.

2.       Coppertone oil free Faces SPF 50- It is oil-free, fragrance free, broad spectrum and absorbs quickly.

3.       Aveeno protect and hydrate lotion SPF 70- This non-greasy sunscreen hydrates as well as protects and is oil-free for your body and face, it also has a light fragrance.

4.       Skinceuticals sport UV defense SPF 50- This is both water resistant, broad spectrum, it is non greasy but give it a little time to sink in.

5.       Banana boat Sport performance coolzone broad spectrum SPF 30-this is a spray on, broad spectrum sunscreen that absorbs quickly and has a cucumber-fresh scent and it is non-greasy. 

6.       Blue lizard Australian sunscreen sensitive SPF 30- This is recommended by dermatologists, it is broad spectrum and good for your face; you must rub it in thoroughly.

7.       Sun bum baby bum Sunscreen lotion SPF 30-This is paraben-free, absorbs quickly and is also broad spectrum.  It is designed for sensitive skin. 

Don’t forget your lips and eyes!  Many lip balms have some sunscreen in them and will help to protect your lips from getting burnt; be sure to check the labels for SPF.  When picking out sunglasses remember that just because they are shaded doesn’t mean that they are protecting your eyes from the UV rays.  Read the label and buy sunglasses that have at least 99% UVA and UVB protection in them.  If there is not a label do not assume they provide protection.  

Avoid Tanning beds and sunlamps.  Tanning beds also give off UVA and UVB rays that can cause long-term skin damage and can contribute to skin cancer.  Sunless tanning lotions are available and will provide a darker look without causing any harm to your skin. 

Don’t forget that UV rays don’t only exist in the warmer months; they are around year round and can affect people of all ages from babies to the elderly.  While you spend more time outside in the spring and summer you should keep all these tips in mind throughout all the months in the year!  

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