Don’t wait for summer to start wearing sunscreen
Spring temps can trick you. Though they may not be as intense as those of a sweltering summer day, you still have to protect your skin against the sun’s damaging rays.
After a cold and maybe snowy winter, we start peeling off the layers because the spring sun feels good. But the sun is higher in the sky and we’re still getting a lot of it. It’s important to remember that ultraviolet radiation from the sun, the No. 1 cause of skin cancer, is a year-round concern.
Your best defense? Sunscreen. Use an SPF of at least 30, skin experts say, and re-apply it every couple of hours—more often if you’re swimming outdoors.
And we can’t stress this strongly enough: Just because you have more melanin in your skin does not make you immune to skin cancer. In fact, the disease is actually more deadly for us, as it’s often not caught until it’s too late. Trust these tips, too:
- If you’re using last year’s leftover sunscreen, check to make sure it hasn’t expired. Sunscreens usually have a three-year expiration date. Note that if you still have sunscreen left from last year, it may indicate you’re not applying enough. If you’re wearing a swimsuit, apply one ounce of sunscreen—enough to fill a shot glass.
- A long-sleeved shirt and a hat also can provide protection from the sun. A wide-brimmed hat with a brim that goes all the way around your head will give you the best protection. A baseball cap will protect only the central triangle of your face. It does not protect your cheeks, your neck or your ears.
- Women should choose a moisturizer with SPF and apply it to their face in the morning.
- Men, bald may be oh-so sexy, but you’ll need to take extra precautions in the sun, because the sun’s rays shine directly on the top of your head. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to your scalp or wear a hat when you’re outside.
- Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your back.