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Whether you live on a tropical island or in a snowy tundra, wearing sunscreen every day is vital. Why? Because while a small amount of sun is good for the production of Vitamin D and serotonin, having unprotected skin in the sun can lead to some pretty unpleasant outcomes.
You probably already know that sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer, but did you know there are a ton of other benefits to daily ‘screen use? In order to get those benefits, “dermatologists recommend an SPF level of at least 30, with broad-spectrum protection covering the UVA and UVB spectrum,” says Joanna Chan, MD, FAAD, FACMS based in California. Here are six reasons sunscreen isn’t only for the beach and why you should wear it every day!
1. Sunscreen can help prevent sunburn
Let’s start with the most obvious reason: application of sunscreen every day can keep the burn away! If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you know how uncomfortable it can be — it feels like your skin is on fire. But it itchy, inflamed skin isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. A really bad sunburn can also lead to heat stroke and heat exhaustion, which are both quite serious. If you’re going to be in the sun for extended periods of time, make sure you are staying hydrated, applying sun protection, and staying in the shade as much as possible!
2. You can get sun damage even when it’s not sunny
If you’re headed outside for a long period of time and it’s not sunny, it’s still worth your while to apply sunscreen. “UV rays still penetrate cloud cover, as 80 percent of ultraviolet rays are still reaching your skin,” says Chan. “Also, UV rays can still reflect off the ground if you’re standing under an umbrella or in the shade, so it is still important to wear sunscreen” whenever you’re outdoors.
3. Sunscreen can help ward off skin cancer
“Daily sunscreen is critical to reducing the cumulative exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which is known to cause skin cancer,” says Chan. In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer — each year, more U.S. citizens are diagnosed with skin cancer than all forms of cancer combined. Hopefully that stat will spook you into lathering up!
4. Sun damage causes premature aging, wrinkles, and skin discoloration
If skin cancer and heat stroke don’t concern you, perhaps wrinkles will! (No shame in that vanity game). “We lose elasticity in the skin with chronic sun-damaged skin, which can lead to the wrinkled appearance,” explains Chan. Studies show that cumulative UV exposure may be responsible for 80 percent of visible facial aging signs.
But wait, there’s more! “The tone and texture of the skin also mirrors microscopic changes under the skin,” Chan adds. “For instance, dilated blood vessels cause a person to have a ruddy texture.” Sun damage can also lead to rough, dry skin, sunspots, and fine red veins. Use sunscreen every day to keep that skin looking youthful, bright, and healthy.
5. Reversing sun damage is tough and costly
While reversing sun damage is possible with the help of a board-certified dermatologist, it’s expensive and not exactly an easy process. For example, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), laser treatments for sun damaged skin can cost around $1,031 to $2,330 per session and is considered a cosmetic procedure, so it’s not covered by insurance. Besides, wouldn’t you rather prevent the problem than deal with the headache of its consequences?
6. There are tons of great sunscreen options to choose from
If none of those reasons spoke to you, maybe convenience will be your convincing factor. Finding a great sunscreen is pretty easy since there are so many good options these days! You just have to know what to look for. “I advise patients to seek physical blockers such as zinc and titanium dioxide,” explains Chan, and avoid harsh chemicals like avobenzone and oxybenzone, which may irritate the skin.
One great option for everyday sunscreen is the certified organic, all-natural, SPF 30 stick from 100% Pure, which is non-comedogenic, super easy to apply, safe for babies and children, and even has moisturizing properties.
For swimmers or those who sweat a lot, try the SPF 50, organic, and reef-safe sunscreen from All Good, which stays water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and rubs in easily.
For even more options and details on how to find the best sunscreen, check out this complete guide to sunscreens.