The Benefits of Wearing Sunscreen

Published on Apr 09, 2016 in Bath & Body

When thinking about the benefits of wearing sunscreen one thing comes to mind, the beach. The there are two distinct memories which surface for me. On the one hand, I think of childhood summers spent visiting my grandparents; of roasting marshmallows by the fireplace, staying up late and reading bedtime stories, and getting that inevitable sunburn covering my back and neck from too much time spent out in the sun – despite my grandma’s insistence that we cover ourselves in sunscreen from head to toe. At the same time, I also associate the beach with my gap year spent abroad, in between completing high school and beginning college, the first time I went away from home for any significant amount of time.

fun at the beach

Beach Time Fun

I’d been feeling kind of homesick those first few weeks away, but an afternoon trip to the nearest beach with two of my now-closest friends was the beginning of my finally starting to adjust to my surroundings, and of learning to enjoy those moments of calm and quiet amidst all the chaos of everyday living.

For many of us, the beach is a place of beauty and joy, even if we’ve never quite gotten over the trauma of one too many sunburns as children. I never quite understood, since my family was always adamant about us slathering sunscreen on everywhere, how it was possible for us kids to get burned in so many places and at so many distinct times. And sure enough, I’ve learned a number of things about using sunscreen to maximize its effectiveness and to keep you and your skin from looking like a boiled lobster.

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Preventing Sunburns One Lather at a Time

better safe than sorry!

Better Safe Than Sorry!

First of all, and I cannot stress this enough: sunscreen needs to be reapplied every few hours!!! Putting sunscreen on all over your body, no matter how thickly, does not give you a free pass to sit out in the sun all day and hope that the morning’s application of sunscreen will suffice. Also, whenever you are planning on being outside, apply the first coat of sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading out so the sunscreen has a chance to “kick in”. Ensure that you are using enough sunscreen and not skimping; the equivalent of one shot glass worth of sunscreen should be used to cover all exposed skin on your body.

If it’s a cloudy or cold day outside, the sun’s rays can still reach you, so you are not absolved of the need to wear sunscreen when you head out. Putting sunscreen on every day, particularly on the delicate facial area, is a good habit to get into . Wearing a hat on sunny days, particularly one with a wide brim, can further protect your face and body. Some spots which are typically forgotten about, such as lips and ears, are further shaded when a hat is worn. For all you ladies, putting sunscreen on under your makeup may not sound like the most fun thing to do, but then again neither does getting skin damage from the sun. (If you are looking for a safe and natural way to wash off all that sunscreen and make-up after a long day at the beach check out our facial cleanser for sensitive skin)

Getting some sun is important, since the sun provides necessary vitamin D which is not naturally found in many foods. However, be aware that in this day and age, many food products do in fact have vitamin D added to them, so don’t be under the false impression that sitting out in the sun for hours on end is the only way to get your daily dosage. And when you are out, always stick with using sunscreen! If you must be out in the summer, when the sun is at its strongest, try to avoid going outside in the strongest heat of the day (around 10am-3pm). It is during these hours that ultraviolet (UV) rays are at their most potent.

Melanoma Is Not So Mellow

blocking the harmful rays

Blocking the Harmful Rays

I’m sure you’re already aware that sunscreen protects from harmful diseases such as skin cancer. But did you know that skin cancer is now considered the most common of all cancers? And the way to reduce your odds is quite literally right at your fingertips, in the form of any sunscreen you can get your hands on.

In addition to cancer, UV rays can suppress the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off disease. UV exposure can also contribute to eye damage such as cataracts. Aside from the obvious health concerns, sun damage can have negative aesthetic effects in the long run as well. Sunburned skin contains within it damaged cells and blood vessels, and over time, accumulated damage can lead to skin looking leathery, dry, discolored, and wrinkly. It will also bruise more easily, despite the appearance of being thicker, since the skin has been weakened.

Maple Holistics SPF 30

aloe veraMaple Holistics SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen lotion has a wonderfully smooth aloe-based formula and is non-greasy. It’s also water resistant up to 80 minutes, which means that if you want to hop into the ocean or pool to cool off, you don’t need to worry about your sunscreen slacking off and leaving you exposed to the elements. Fortunately this brand also does not have that chemically smell which I always associate with sunscreen, and instead has a lighter, more subtle scent. If natural is important to you Maple Holistics SPF would be my choice but there are other less natural lotions like kiss my face sunscreen that could work for you too.

Another perk of using an aloe formula, scent aside, is the fact that the aloe vera plant has naturally soothing antibacterial properties. For this reason, it is a common and easy to use treatment for sunburns. If you are recovering from a mild case of sunburn (as many of us seem to find ourselves doing at some point during the summer), and want to further protect your already-sensitive skin from the sun’s rays, using sunscreen with aloe simultaneously prevents additional damage while at the same time helping the existing sunburn to heal that much quicker.

As broad spectrum, this product blocks both UVA and UVB rays. The general term of UV radiation refers to the part of the light/electromagnetic spectrum that can reach the earth from the sun, and since its wavelengths are shorter than visible light, the human eye cannot detect it. UVA rays are longer than UVB rays, and are responsible for the vast majority of UV damage to our skin, since they are not absorbed by the ozone layer. UVB, on the other hand, is typically absorbed by the ozone layer, although some rays can and do still reach the Earth’s surface. Both varieties can be responsible for damage to the human body, which is why a good sunscreen should protect from both.