There has been quite a bit of back and forth in the scientific community regarding the effectiveness of sunscreens, with some studies suggesting there may be no link to SPF protection against the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. My advice? Until unequivocally proven to be of no use, find a safe SPF and use it, consistently. I subscribe to the old adage, prevention is better than cure.
So, what’s a gal to do to keep her body safe (er) from harmful UV radiation? Well, for starters…
Wear Protective Clothing
I know the temptation to expose your skin, endlessly in the summer is great (it is for me, and I do), especially after the long brutal winters some of us have to endure. But, what would you rather? To be safe or to be sorry? Wear wide brim hats. I wear a fedora most days in the summer. Trust me, hats are so much fun. Wear long sleeves and other lengthy materials that protect your skin. And if cool points don’t matter to you, there’s always an umbrella. And don’t forget your sunglasses to protect your eyes. Fashion for health. It’s all good.
SPF Up To 30 Is Good Enough
It doesn’t make a significant difference in protection. In fact, studies have shown that higher SPF claims lead consumers into believing that they are safer for longer periods in the sun. This, of course, is absolutely not the case. Besides. higher SPF gives you minute additional protection when compared to the lower numbers, and they also contain more additives to bump up the SPF, which may, in the long run, do more harm than good to your cells.
Limit your time in the sun
Heed this advice if you love hanging out with lots of exposed skin in the summer. Because some sunscreens only protect against UVB radiation and not UVA radiation, it’s extremely difficult to determine how much cells are being affected by UVA radiation. Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities during hours when the sun’s UV radiation is high; 10 am – 2 pm.
Most people turn to Sun Protectant Factor (SPF), which can be very reassuring for many who are seeking protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But, buyer beware. Some SPF only protects against UVB rays and does not protect against its partner in crime, UVA, which can be extremely dangerous, because it penetrates deep into the third layer of the skin, and can cause irreversible cellular damage.
Use broad-spectrum protection that covers both UVA and UVB rays. Remember, anything over 30 is nothing but hype. Read your labels and make sure it says UVA and UVB protection.
Important note** Do not avoid the sun altogether as it can lead to a vitamin D deficiency, and vitamin D is needed for bone growth and calcium absorption, and believe it or not, to protect against some types of cancers.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, certified health coach and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo, Redbook, Natural Health, Instyle, Working Woman, Huffington Post, Essence Online, Tampa Tribune and more. She is currently the Chief Self-care Connoisseur and founder of I. O. Beauty Market, where she curates products that are free of toxic, harmful ingredients.