There is a difference between sunblock and sunscreen. A sunBLOCK creates an actual barrier that blocks UV radiation. A sunSCREEN absorbs & deflects the sun’s rays. Despite the look of a golden tan, self-tanners and bronzers do not provide any protection against the sun’s rays, unless an SPF is specifically mentioned on the bottle. You must apply a sunblock or sunscreen whether you look tan, or not. There are sweat and water-resistant types of products as well, but these still must be re-applied at regularly intervals. Choose what is right for you, depending upon the environment and activity you’re going to be doing. *Not all sunsafe products are appropriate for every skin type or condition. Read the labels carefully, learn about the ingredients, and consult with your doctor if you are unsure whether a product is right for you. Most importantly, experiment and find the products that you find pleasing so you will use them regularly. A sunblock sitting in the tube in your tote or on your dresser does absolutely no good.
Check the expiration dates, as sun protection products can lose their efficiency, with age. It is best to toss anything more than six months old, and if a product has changed in consistency or smell, toss it immediately. A higher SPF will protect your skin longer, but you will need to apply enough of it, and in all the right places, and re-apply it as often as directed.
An actual, protective dose of product is about one full ounce. That may seem like a lot, but if you don’t cover your skin completely, the places you miss are prone to burning and damage (not to mention you’ll get an uneven look). Some sun-protection ingredients may take as long as a half and hour to bind with your skin and properly protect you.
Keep in mind that the sun hits everywhere you are exposed, so don’t just apply product on legs, lips, arms, neck, back, chest & front of body but also where your bathing suit or pants line is (if you’re reaching or bending over), and on your ears, inside of knees and arms, front and back of feet, and your hairline (and the exposed areas of your head, if you are bald or balding). Spray and mist sunblocks are great, because you can apply them even to hard to reach areas without extra help!
There are so many to choose from hair savers (shampoos & conditioners specially formulated to counteract the effects of ultraviolet rays), to lip products that protect and beautify. Most women wear foundations and apply moisturizers and cosmetics, so why not pick those with SPF? There are also a vast array of moisturizers and body lotions that men will enjoy using, as well. The Advice Sisters What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion Review Column for May/June is a huge, 2-page column that features lots of products with SPF. And, the What Works column for July/August (up the first week in July) will be focusing almost exclusively on sun screen, sun blocks, cosmetics with SPF, and multi-tasking sun prevention products!
Even if you’re not really into skincare, wearing sun protection is essential to avoid skin cancer and premature aging. Daily shaving opens up your new skin to sun damage unless you wear a sunscreen or sunblock. Buy a fresh product (not the one that’s been sitting in your drawer since your last beach vacation 2 years ago) and apply it properly (enough product to protect yourself). Balding men leave the top of their heads constantly exposed to the sun, which also causes flaking, irritation, and redness so definitely wear a hat, or use an SPF product on your head. A good choice is a spray or mist-type sunblock that will give your entire head a thorough (but light) coating. Hair or no hair, always wear a hat if you’re going to be outdoors for any length of time. Hats and sunglasses will protect your head, face and hair, but there are fabrics that actually have SPF protection woven in and these are available in shirts and pants for both men and women. These can help protect the rest of your body, especially if you’re not using sunblock. Consider investing in a long-sleeved shirt and pants with SPF for those times when you’re going to be outside for a long time!
Sunscreen will protect your skin, but it won’t save you from sunstroke. Don’t dehydrate! Drink lots of water, especially when you’re out in the sun. Wear good sunglasses with protective filters to help avoid damages to your eyes, headaches, and squinting, which contributes to wrinkles and crows feet. Sunglasses add glamour to your look, too! Check your skin regularly for unusual moles or skin changes, and see a dermatologist immediately if you find any. A cancerous mole the size of a dime is dangerous enough to be lethal. A quick check could save your life.