With warmer weather finally here, it's time to make the sensible choice and cream up this summer! Most people like to get out and feel the sun on their skin, but too much sun can lead to sunburn - the key is to be careful if you are going to be out in the sun.
While most of us are aware of the risks of being outside for an extended period on hot, sunny days, it's also important to remember that even on cloudy days the sun can still get through to your skin. Thus many dermatologists recommend that you either use an appropriate daytime moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15, or use sunscreen over your regular moisturizer on sunny days. Indeed, many beauty experts recommend that you should use sunscreen in the winter, too.
Another key to protecting your skin is to avoid sunbathing. If you want that tanned, just-back-from-summer-holiday look, the alternatives include using a self tanning or spray-on system.
In addition to making the sensible choice and creaming up this summer, there are other steps you can take to protect your skin. The number one treatment for UV exposure is to cover up - wear protective clothing like lightweight trousers and long sleeved shirts, and keep your face and neck covered with a hat. In addition, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare.
Sunlight is most intense at midday, so you should try to avoid exposure at this time. Use high quality sunscreen, with an SPF rating of at least 15, and apply sunscreen at least a half hour before exposure for maximum effectiveness. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen regularly, about every two hours is recommended.
However, don't obsess too much about the SPF rating of your sunscreen - an SPF of 15 will filter out about 95% of the sun's rays, while going up to a 36 or even a 50 will only increase that to around 97 or 98%.
If you have sensitive skin, you need to think about the effects of sunscreen on your skin. Some products include chemicals that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people. If you have sensitive skin, be on the lookout for fragrances, preservatives, alpha hydroxyacids, urea, and sunscreens.
As with any skin product, you have to adopt a trial and error approach. Start with the least oily formulas, avoid additives as much as possible, and see what works for you.