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Sun Protection 101: How to Protect Your Skin From UV Rays and Other Damaging Elements

The closer we get to vacation, spring break, enjoy-yourself-outside-in-the-sun season the more important it becomes to protect your skin against sun damage and other environmental factors that can affect your skin. Your skin, especially your skin barrier, is there to protect you from toxins and other dangerous elements that are around you constantly (there’s a lot in our environment we can’t see that can be harmful). Also, you probably do a considerable amount of work to protect your skin from UV Rays also to keep your skin healthy, healed from inflammation and acne, and it only makes sense to do whatever you can to protect it!

What does sunscreen do?

Sunscreen works to either deflect or absorb the UV and other kind of invisible rays that come from the sun. This helps us so our skin isn’t damaged from them directly. Think of your sunscreen like oven mitts—a very intense comparison, but stay with us on this. When you take something out of the oven, you know that you could burn your hands if you don’t use something to absorb the heat before it gets to your hands. This way you can safely handle things that are insanely hot. When you take it out of the oven, you can still feel warmth through the oven mitts, but it’s keeping you from the bulk of the heat.

You also use oven mitts or like a kitchen towel for non-oven items, right? Grabbing a pot that has a hot handle or taking scalding things out of the microwave are other instances where you’ll need protection on some level. A burn from hot microwave soup might not be as harmful as an oven burn, but it can still hurt and, more importantly, can still be prevented.

Sunscreen works kinda like oven mitts or kitchen towels. A higher SPF is a more durable choice, like thick oven mitts, whereas a lower SPF works more like a kitchen towel. And there’s varying levels of sun damage that you’re at risk depending on what situation you’re in. Being outside on a cloudy day is similar to taking something out of the microwave—won’t need as much SPF, but you still need some protection.

What happens if you don’t protect your skin from sun rays

Not protecting your skin can result in minor and major skin complications. On the minor end, rapid aging and skin wrinkling, and inflammation. On the major end, sun burn and skin cancer. These conditions can develop and worsen over time, so taking steps daily to protect your skin and being mindful of how the sun and other elements could be damaging it is your best defense.

3 Steps to protecting your skin

1. Wear sunscreen everyday
Daily sunscreen application, no matter the weather, can help consistently protect your skin to it’s stronger overtime and has a better shield against dangerous UV rays.

2. Keep your skin barrier healthy and strong
Making sure your skin is moisturized, being gentle and treating your skin to things like eye masks, and staying hydrated are all ways that you can give your skin barrier all it needs to stay strong.

3. Limit sun time
You can have fun in the sun, but keep in mind how much direct sun you’re in and how often you’re applying sunscreen. It’s also a great idea to use hats and umbrellas to stay out of direct sunlight on a particularly sunny day!
Your skin is your biggest organ and is one of the most exposed ones—so it’s vitally important that you do what you can to protect it!

Check out this great Mother’s Day Gift Guide!