Colorado doesn’t quite get the “300 days of sunshine a year” that’s long been touted. That said, there are only about 60 days per year of completely overcast conditions — which means there’s still plenty of sunshine to go around.
Whether today is sunny, cloudy, or somewhere in between, your skin needs protection. You’ve been hearing about the importance of wearing sunscreen all your life, but does it really make that much of a difference? Why is sunscreen important for your health?
Keep reading as we answer some common questions about sunscreen and skincare.
Why Is Sunscreen Important?
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is a leading cause of sun spots, wrinkles, and premature aging. Esthetics aside, wearing sunscreen could literally mean your life.
Research shows that wearing sunscreen daily reduces your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40%. Meanwhile, your risk of melanoma — the most lethal form of skin cancer — drops by 50%.
When Should I Wear Sunscreen?
We’ll make it easy: Every day. Summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Sunny, cloudy, or anywhere in between.
It’s true that you’re at greater risk for sunburn during the summer months, especially at low latitudes or high elevations. But wearing sunscreen is just as important on an overcast winter day, when 80% of the sun’s UV rays still penetrate the clouds.
What Does SPF Mean?
SPF is an acronym for “sun protection factor.” The number indicates the amount of protection the sunscreen will provide.
For example, an SPF of 15 means that you can spend 15 times longer in the sun than you normally would without getting burned. An SPF of 30 means you can spend 30 times longer, and so on.
Experts generally recommend using an SPF of at least 30, or up to 50 if you have very fair skin.
When & How Should I Apply Sunscreen?
You should apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of your body before leaving your home for the day. This includes often-overlooked areas such as your ears, chest, the back of your neck, and the tops of your feet.
If you’re spending time outdoors, be sure to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours. If you’re sweating or swimming, reapply more frequently.
Pro tip: Most people do not apply enough sunscreen. Experts recommend that adults apply one full ounce (that’s an entire shot glass) to exposed skin. Lotion is best, as sprays simply aren’t thick enough to provide adequate protection.
What If I Use Cosmetics With SPF?
It never hurts to have some extra SPF on your skin, so it’s great if you use skincare products that feature it.
However, keep in mind that most of these products contain only a trace amount — sometimes as little as 4 SPF. This is nowhere near the protection you need, especially during the summer months.
Be sure to finish your morning skincare routine with an application of sunscreen, no matter what types of products you use.
Make Skincare a Priority This Summer
So then, why is sunscreen important? As we discussed above, it’s one of your primary defenses against sun damage, skin cancer, and premature aging.
Whether it’s summer or winter, in the mountains or in the tropics, be sure to slather on your sunscreen every day before you head outside. Your skin (and your health) will thank you for it!
Another amazing thing you can do for your skin is get to a cleansing, moisturizing facial. If it’s been a while since your last facial treatment, now is the perfect time to do something great for you.
The estheticians at Apres Massage & Facial in West Vail are ready to help you get the healthy, glowing skin you deserve. Click here to browse our facial menu and find the treatment that’s perfect for your needs.