Summer is the time for outdoor adventures, and there are few people who don’t enjoy lounging on the beach or enjoying a relaxing picnic with family or friends. Soaking up the sun’s warmth definitely feels great—especially after a long, cold winter filled with nothing but snow and ice. The only problem is that you’re also soaking up a ton of harmful UV rays along with all that heat, which is why it’s essential that you remember to put on sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors for any extended time. This means even on cloudy days and even during the winter, as the sun’s powerful rays will still find a way to reach your skin no matter what.
Despite all of the warnings, an exceedingly large percentage of people still neglect to put on sunscreen regularly. The issue is that even a small tan causes some damage to your skin, and it can only take one bad sunburn to irreparably change your life.
With this in mind, here are three benefits of using sunscreen, which will hopefully convince you of the importance of using it every single time you’re going sunoutside.
Sun Damage Leads to Lines, Wrinkles and Other Signs of Premature Aging
Whether we like to admit it or not, the vast majority of people are vain about their appearance to some degree or another. Of course, beauty is subjective, and gradually beginning to look older and older is something everyone has to deal with. However, quickly fading looks are something you’ll probably end up dealing with much sooner if you insist on spending lots of time out in the sun without wearing sunscreen.
Over time, repeated exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can damage the collagen in the underlying layer of your skin called the dermis, which is what helps to keep your skin tight and firm. This collagen structure also begins to degrade as you age, and this directly result in the appearance and gradual worsening of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging. Similarly, repeated exposure to the sun can result in photoaging, which can lead to wrinkles and other signs of aging no matter how old you actually are.
Skin Cancer Is a Real Killer
Among the many potential problems caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays, skin cancer is most definitely the biggest. Not only are more Americans diagnosed with skin cancer each year than every other type of cancer combined, but the Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that approximately one in five Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the time they’re 70.
By making sure to wear sunscreen, you can obviously lower your chances of developing melanoma or other forms of skin cancer, but you can also prevent other forms of skin damage like actinic keratosis. Commonly a precursor to cancer, this issue results in permanent damage that can only be removed by a dermatologist. As well, dermatologists are also your first line of defense against skin cancer, which is why it’s recommended that you pay one a visit at the first sign of any skin damage.
Sunscreen Can Help to Keep Your Skin Soft and Supple
Damage from UV radiation is definitely the biggest concern with repeated exposure to the sun. However, the sun’s heat can also wreak havoc on your skin by stripping it of its moisture and natural essential oils. This causes your skin to dry out, which can result in itchy, flaky skin. To counter this effect, most sunscreens contain various moisturizing oils that can help to keep your skin hydrated in addition to preventing UV damage. Of course, not all products work as well or contain the same ingredients. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research to ensure you choose a sunscreen that matches your skin’s specific needs.
Preventing damage from the sun is something everyone needs to take seriously. Not only is skin cancer a very real threat, but the sun’s heat and UV radiation can also harm your skin in various other ways. Therefore, it is essential that you remember to lather up each and every time or else you may end up quickly regretting it.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more dermatology information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.