Summer Sun Safety Tips
You’ve been following the rules when it comes to sunscreen for how long now? At this point, you’re a diligent daily sunscreen wearer, and you know to reapply every few hours when you’re at the beach or pool. (Sorry, no magical stay-all-day sunscreen on the market yet!) But, hey, it’s 2018—some of the old thinking no longer applies. So update your sun-safety habits, and keep your skin healthy long-term with these thoroughly modern strategies.
Old rule: Apply a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with SPF 15 a half-hour before leaving the house.
New rule: Sunscreen alone is not enough: Wear an SPF 15 (at least) plus an antioxidant-enriched moisturizer.
Sunproof your skin from A to Z
If you’re going to the beach, go higher than SPF 15, Dr. Brandt says. Most people don’t apply enough, so they may end up getting a protection level of 7 out of their 15. But if you’re slathering on 70? You’ll probably get at least a 30, so you’re good.
Stay safe at the beach
Old rule: Throw on a T-shirt or cover-up when you’re in direct sunlight.
New rule: If you’re not into sun-protective clothing, wear dark colors and tightly woven fabrics at peak hours.
You can’t get away with any ol’ thing (donning a breezy sarong is like wearing nothing at all). Fabrics have UPF ratings that measure their level of UV protection; a 30 is necessary to be awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
(FYI: A plain white tee comes in under 10.) If you’re up for a quick extra step, check out SunGuard Sun Protection, a clear dye you can add to your laundry for an immediate UPF 30 that will last through 20 washings.
Is it a mole… or skin cancer?
Old rule: Use a teaspoon of sunscreen for your face, a shot-glass-worth for your body.
New rule: Layer on your protection to make sure you’re covered.
Because nobody actually measures out their dose, here’s how to stay safe. First, err on the side of over-applying. (It can’t hurt!) Pay attention to commonly missed spots like your neck, chest, and the backs of your hands, particularly when you’re driving. “Most people don’t realize that the neck and the V of the chest are directly exposed to sunlight due to the angle of the windshield, which offers no protection from UVA rays,” says Alysa Herman, MD, a Miami dermatologist specializing in skin cancer treatment. “The backs of hands also get a lot of damage from holding the steering wheel.”