Applying sunscreen and wearing a hat become normal when heading outside on hot summer days.
But not only do we need to protect our skin when the sun is on. On the occasion of Sunshine Awareness Week, which runs May 2-8, Dr. Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible, provided top tips for caring for our skin and reducing the risk of skin cancer year-round.
Putting on hats and layers is an effective way to reduce your risk of skin cancer, and it’s especially important if you have risk factors such as fair skin, family history, or many moles.
“This remains your first line of sun protection,” she said. “This should be something to consider on a hot and sunny day, during a tropical vacation or even when participating in an outdoor sport. Clothing, hats, and sunglasses all have a role to play.”
Ideally, try to stay out of the sun during peak hours of daylight, when the sun is most likely to cause a burn.
Dr. Mahto noted, “This is usually between 11am and 3pm. Try to look for shade during these times.”
Video: Dermatologist shares tips and best products for your end-of-summer skincare routine (today)
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Choose a high-quality sunscreen
Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that provides protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
“This should have a minimum SPF of 15-30. Sunscreens can be of two types – mineral and chemical. Chemical sunscreens should be applied at least twenty minutes before going outdoors; mineral sunscreens contain zinc and titanium, and they work immediately.” Their use is explained by the expert.” “Sunscreens need to be reapplied every ninety minutes to get the SPF set on the bottle and most of us are guilty of not reapplying it as frequently as we should. Also, remember to reapply it after swimming and sweating.”
Reapply sunscreen frequently
Most of us also don’t use the right amounts of sunscreen for it to be effective.
“Sunscreen should be used on all areas not covered by clothing. A single full glass dose (or 35ml) should be approximately suitable for an average sized adult. Rough rule of thumb is about 1 teaspoon per area of the body: 1 teaspoon For your face, head and neck, one for each arm, one for each leg, one for your chest and stomach, and one for your back and the back of your neck. Don’t forget your ears and the tops of your feet; these are locations often missed.”
Wear sunscreen on cloudy days
Although the sun may not seem as strong on cloudy days, it is still present and the skin can be exposed.
“Since many skin cancers develop due to cumulative exposure to UV rays, it is beneficial to get in the habit of applying sunscreen to exposed sites daily. For those who are concerned, it will also have benefits for your skin from an anti-aging perspective,” added Dr. Mahto.