Sunscreen - Keep Your Skin Protected

July 10, 2019 / Posted by bbrandenburg

With Michigan temperatures hitting close to the 90’s over the course of the next few weeks, there is no doubt that summer is finally upon us.  So, while you’re spending as much time as you can outdoors, soaking up the sun, don’t forget to keep your skin protected.

Lathering up with sunscreen shouldn’t just be a before the pool ritual.  Many people assume that a sunburn occurs only after an extended period of time laying out in the hot summer sun, and only when you’re not wearing sunscreen.  This is not always the case.  A sunburn can occur from any amount of sun exposure with or without the proper application of sunscreen.   Sunburns can occur just as often on cloudy days, and sometimes even from sunlight penetrating through a window.  Although UV rays cannot be seen by the naked eye, they are strong enough to cause permanent damage, and put you at an increased risk for developing skin cancer.  

UV stands for Ultraviolet, a type of powerful radiation emitted by our sun.  Long explanation short, UV radiation has the ability to cause physical changes to our skin; for example, developing a suntan, sunburn or sun spots.  We also know that UV radiation has the power to penetrate deep down into the second layer of our skin and cause potential damage to our DNA.  For some, damage from the sun may not be something you notice right away.  It could take days, months, and even years before the negative effects of sun damage start to show.

There are two main types of UV radiation that are strong enough to reach the Earth’s surfaceUVB rays are the more widely known and protected against, as they are the rays responsible for causing sunburn.  However, the majority of UV rays that make it down to the Earth Surface are UVA.  These are the rays powerful enough to penetrate through clouds, glass windows, and the second layer of our skin.  It has been proven that both UVA and UVB rays are contributing factors to skin cancer. 

This UV index provides us with a scale of the potential risk of Ultraviolet rays from the sun.  The scale ranges from Minimal UV Exposure, where a burn from the sun may take sixty minutes or so, to a Very High UV Exposure, where a sunburn may only take fifteen minutes!  There will always be other environmental factors that may cause a burn before the times outlined, so be sure to use this index as a basic guide only.   

Sunscreen shouldn’t be an option; it should be a necessity.  It is important to keep in mind where you choose to spend your hours outdoors may affect the type of sunscreen that’s right for you.  Going for boat ride or lounging at the neighborhood pool?  Don’t forget to grab a sunscreen that’s waterproof.  Taking the kids to the zoo or planning a picnic?  Make sure to buy one designed specifically for children.  Looking for maximum protection regardless of where you’re headed?  Many Dermatologists recommend choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.  You’ll also want to find one labeled Full Spectrum, meaning it will protect against UVA and UVB rays.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, it’s that Michigan weather is anything but predictable.  Whether your summer plans include a family trip to the local ice cream shop, splash park or wave pool, a weekend getaway exploring one of our magnificent Great Lakes, or heading over to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, the definition of Pure Michigan’s natural beauty – there’s one thing these trips should all have in common.. don’t forget the sunscreen!