We used to think that sunscreen is not needed on rainy days or when staying inside. But guess what? UV rays are there even when the sun isn’t shining bright. Meaning you need to use sunscreen every day.
The reason for this is simple: The sun emits UV rays year-round. It might not be as intense during the winter months, but it’s still present. You might not feel it on your skin because of layers of clothing, but those rays can still cause damage to your skin if you don’t protect yourself from them.
The only way to truly prevent premature aging and skin cancer is by protecting yourself with chemical or physical sunscreen every day, including when it’s cloudy outside or if you’re indoors. The best place to start is by building a routine for yourself—like putting on sunscreen before you leave the house each morning—and following through on it every day of the year.
How exposure to UV rays affects your skin
UV rays can affect your skin regardless of your age, race, or gender. Some people are more susceptible than others, however—those who have fair skin and freckles are particularly vulnerable to sun damage due to the fact that their bodies produce less melanin, the substance responsible for absorbing UV rays.
Melanin forms in your skin when the inside layer of your epidermis—the outermost layer of the skin—receives UV rays. The more time you spend in the sun, the more melanin is produced, and this is what results in a tan we all want. But there’s a limit to how much melanin our bodies can produce without becoming damaged.
The most common symptoms of sun damage are sunburns and freckles, which can occur after only an hour of exposure. While these symptoms don’t seem like much at first, they often lead to more serious side effects later on, such as wrinkles, mottled pigmentation, and even cancer. Wrinkles form as a result of the sun’s direct impact on your collagen levels; mottling is caused by the loss of elasticity in your skin.
Which sunscreens to buy
When considering which sunscreen to buy, the first thing you need to do is decide whether you want a facial sunscreen or a full-body sunscreen. Facial sunscreens are different from body sunscreens in that they’re lighter and aren’t meant for full-body use, only facial use. They’re also formulated in such a way that they don’t clog the pores and cause acne. Facial sunscreens are generally easier to apply (they don’t need to be rubbed in as much) and some even contain moisturizer for dry skin.
There are tons of brands out there with lots of different kinds of sunscreen products—creams, sprays, gels, lotions, powders—so it can be hard to know what will work for you. According to the Strategist, Neutrogena’s Ultra Dry-Touch Sunscreen with SPF 55 is the best one out there and you’ll be glad to hear it doesn’t cost a fortune (only $8).
How much product to use
The amount of sunscreen you need depends on the size of your body, but a good rule of thumb is about one ounce for your face and neck and about one shot glass worth for your whole body.
To achieve the best protection, don’t forget to reapply it every 2 hours. If you’re sweating or swimming, you should reapply every 40 minutes or so.
Apply it at least 15 minutes before you plan on going outdoors, which will give the product some time to sink into your skin.
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