Sun Damage Prevention 101

Do you really know what you’re wearing sunscreen for?

Here’s everything you never knew you needed to know about why to wear sunscreen:

Summer isn’t just coming; it’s here. So stay safe in the sun once and for all. You’ve heard it over and over and over again: Wear sunscreen. We at LimeLife take that very seriously. And it’s why I never leave the house without wearing our Perfect Sunscreen. After all, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, people who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily. 

More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. And an estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun (not just gravity). 

Let’s keep in mind that we do need the sun to survive, right? Energy, oxygen, and even our atmosphere would be nowhere without it. But too much sun and we risk serious damage to our cells. You’ve probably heard of UV rays (maybe you even have sunglasses that protect from them). Well, these rays are invisible to us — though some animals can see them — but come off from the sun and are a kind of radiation. And they do just that, radiate our skin, especially when we’re not protected from it. 

Radiated skin puts up a shield (kind of like when you skin creates a scab on a wound) to protect itself from these rays. But when your skin is defending itself from UV rays, it’s in the form of, you guessed it, a tan. The tan is just pigment in the form of newly developed cells called melanocytes. Sound familiar? Melanin is the word for darker pigment in the skin. And, of course, there’s melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, when your skin gathers extra melanin from your tan (no matter your natural skin tone, this happens to every shade of skin), there’s an uneven production of melanin. So, as if having sun damage wasn’t already bad enough, having to match your foundation and concealers to uneven discoloration is not ideal either. Real talk: I’m not trying to be glib here. I just think we should all take this seriously. If the reality of skin cancers can’t scare us into taking care of ourselves, then perhaps the reality of having discoloration can.

So even if you think your tan looks nice, it’s actually not. It’s your skin telling you it needs help. You know what can act as a shield? Sunscreen! And even a step further than that is a new favorite of mine, UPF clothing (Ultraviolet Protection Factor clothing) which has been steadily gaining attention from fashion brands

Other ugly signs of sun damage are wrinkles, changes in moles, sun spots, scaly patches, and, of course, cancers. I obviously take this seriously and I think we all should. To learn more, check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s sun damage prevention tips.

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