Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Protecting your skin from the sun this summer

I’ve recently become more interested in taking care of my skin. This is mainly because I am very concerned about how my skin might look in the future and also, I have a lot of free time. For anyone with even the slightest interest in taking care of their skin, they know that sunscreen is the most important thing in the world. Many people on the internet say that you should wear sunscreen every single day, even in winter or when it’s cloudy or indoors which is probably good advice but it seems excessive, and sometimes I get the impression that these people follow all sorts of trends to try and stay younger.

This article may become quite technical so if you just want quite basic information about sunscreen then you need to know that if it’s a hot day but cloudy, you still need sunscreen. The sun is a sphere of plasma that is 5,505 °C, it is more powerful than clouds. Swimming or sweating or doing sport means immediate re-applying, sitting means reapplying every two hours.

Skin cancer is a serious disease, and about 2,000 people die of it every year in the UK

You need sunscreen on your eyelids, ears, and the back of your knees. These are areas a lot of people miss and make sure that you apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside. Put it on before you put on makeup. If you are darker-skinned, you still might need to put on sunscreen, but pretty much the paler you are, the more essential it is. Skin cancer is a serious disease, and about 2,000 people die of it every year in the UK, so protect yourself.

Some of you are probably thinking that putting on sunscreen means you tan less, which is true, but the point of sunscreen is to avoid damaging your skin. Tanning damages your skin, even though it’s only by a little. If I sound harsh, know that this information distresses me too. I also look better with a tan, but I don’t make the rules, the British Skin Foundation does. Maybe they’re making it all up so that only people who work for the British Skin Foundation have really nice tans and everyone else looks bad, but I very much doubt it.

The world of sunscreen is far more varied than a lot of people think

Sunbathing is fun and relaxing, just be sure that you’re tanning responsibly and not trying to get burnt in the hope that it will eventually turn into a tan. Additionally, never get in a sunbed. They’re just as dangerous as smoking and it’s actually illegal to use one if you’re under 18.

Another important thing to note is that the world of sunscreen is far more varied than a lot of people think. Many people associate sunscreen with a thick, gloopy liquid that leaves your skin feeling greasy and a white residue on your face. A lot of sun-protecting products are like this, but not all. There are plenty of great options out there if you are willing to pay slightly more, and often sunscreens from Japan or Korea are particularly good because their cultural beauty standards tend to favour youthful, pale skin, so sunscreen is a big market.

When looking at sunscreen, many people are familiar with Sun Protection Ratings (SPF) that go from 5- 100 and indicate the level of protection from UVB rays. This measures how long it will take you to burn with the product on, compared to how long it would take you to burn with no sunscreen. A sunscreen with a rating of 30 means that when it is applied, your skin will take thirty times longer to burn.

Sunscreen is also not the only factor when it comes to burning

However, bigger SPF is not necessarily better, since 50 SPF already blocks 98% of the sun’s rays and the increased SPF from higher-rated sunscreens is negligible. It’s tempting to run out and buy the sunscreen with the highest rating you can find, particularly if your skin is still peeling from the last time you bathed irresponsibly, but since sunscreen has to be reapplied every two hours regardless of SPF, there’s really not much point going beyond 50.

The world of sunscreen is complicated, and even experts don’t always fully understand how the sun can affect our skin. Sunscreen is also not the only factor when it comes to burning as things like appropriate clothing and staying in shady spots are sometimes even more important. However, at its most basic level, when it comes to sun protection – more is better. More sunscreen, put in more places, applied more often.

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