Many summer memories are attached to the fragrant smell of sunscreen. But taking care of your skin is a year-round precaution everyone should do and it should not be left only to the long days of fun in the sun. Skin needs constant protection from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. This means using sunscreen every day even if it is cloudy outside. Applying sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside will ensure maximum benefits. Also consider using a lip balm that contains 30 SPF. 

Learning about the importance of SPF and tips for sun safety will aid in protecting your skin against UVA and UVB radiation. SPF stands for sun protection factor and is the measure of the amount of time the sunscreen will protect your skin from ultraviolet rays that cause premature aging and signs of sun damage including sunburn, wrinkles, liver spots, actinic keratosis and solar elastosis. Unprotected sun exposure to ultraviolet rays damages the DNA in skin cells producing mutations that could lead to skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended time outdoors. Regular daily use of SPF 15 or greater sunscreen can reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and lower melanoma risk by 50%. In addition to shielding the skin from sunburns, preventing signs of aging and reducing the risk of skin cancer, wearing sunscreen daily also prevents skin discoloration and reduces inflammation especially for those with sensitive skin or existing skin conditions such as psoriasis or rosacea. 
Natural ways to protect yourself, in addition to wearing sunscreen, include wearing protective clothing and hats, protecting the eyes with UV blocking sunglasses or goggles, staying in the shade or using an umbrella, avoiding UV lights such as tanning beds and consuming omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that promote healthy skin and prevent cellular damage. At THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology, we recommend annual skin checks to be sure your skin is free of sun damage and there have been no changes to skin to indicate a worsening condition or the appearance of skin cancer. The best way to protect your skin is to follow the advice listed above for recognizing the importance of SPF and tips for sun safety. For an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists, call 602-867-7546 or visit WEBSITE.