Protect yourself: Applying sunscreen often and evenly is the best way to prevent melanoma. *MCT photo
Protect yourself: Applying sunscreen often and evenly is the best way to prevent melanoma. *MCT photo

As the weather gets warmer, we tend to spend more time in the sun. Now that summer is here, it’s time to think about sunscreen. 

Living on an island like Bermuda means we have all been taught the importance of wearing sun block to protect our skin. Failing to wear sunscreen will only damage your skin in the long run. 

While skin cancer is more prominent in people who have less melanin in their skin, darker-skinned people can get it as well. 

Sunscreens are products combining several ingredients that help to prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. 

When looking for sunscreen look for ingredient lists that include titanium dioxide, avobenzone or parsol 1789 for the best protection against the sun. Products such as Coppertone and Neutrogena contain one or more of these ingredients.

 Here are my top five reasons  you need to wear sunscreen:

One: Protecting your skin. Applying sunscreen daily, especially when you are going to be in direct sunlight, will help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation rays, UVA and UVB. Both damage the skin, age it prematurely and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Two: Preventing skin cancer.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over two million cases of non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed every year. Wearing sunscreen is very important in protecting yourself against skin cancer. 

Just one serious sunburn in your life increases your risk of getting skin cancer by 50 per cent and if you add more sun exposure, the likelihood increases. 

Three: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) – SPF is basically a measure of the effectiveness of your sunscreen. It works based on the ratio of the amount of radiation it takes to cause sunburn with sunscreen versus the amount it takes to cause sunburn without sunscreen. 

For example, by wearing an SPF 15 sunscreen, you won’t get sunburn until you’ve been exposed to 15 times the amount of radiation that would normally cause your bare skin to burn.

Four: Anti-aging. It’s said that vanity is often what makes someone turn to the sun as well as away from it. Most people who tan claim it makes them look thinner and more attractive. 

However, protecting yourself from the sun is one way to decrease the amount of lines and wrinkles that develop with time, thus making you more attractive. 

Five: It’s Waterproof. Most of us spend a lot of time at the beach during the summer, especially in the water. 

Most sun blocks are waterproof, making it easier for you to apply sun protection before swimming. The skin will burn much faster in the water. You will still need to apply sun protection frequently, as it will wash off. Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going outside. 

When applying it, be liberal, but make sure to rub it all in. It’s pointless to wear sunscreen if you don’t wear enough and don’t apply it correctly. 

If you want a lighter feeling product for your face, look for moisturizers that also have SPF or sunscreens specifically for the face.

If you are spending the day outdoors, make sure to reapply your sunscreen every few hours to ensure that your skin remains protected. As I said above, when you are in the water, this rule also applies. 

And finally, using two kinds of SPF together, such as 15 plus 30, it doesn’t equal 45.  With sunscreen, the numbers act individually so you can’t use two and come out with a higher level of protection. 

Enjoy your time in the sun, but please make sure that your skin is protected at all times! 

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire.  For helpful information, visit Lindo’s at www.lindos.bm