Deborah Fellinger
Health & Wellness

The scoop on sun protection

It’s summer! Time to spend time outside, enjoy a day in the sunshine. (With adequate protection, of course!)

How the sun can damage skin
The sun emits ultraviolet radiation rays, which can cause skin cancer. It’s the most preventable type of cancer –– and the most common type of cancer.

There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA causes photoaging, like wrinkling and sun spots, and tanning. UVB causes your skin to burn. UV rays are present year-round, so it’s important to protect your skin no matter the season, but UV levels are higher during the summer.

Choosing a sunscreen
Sunscreen is labeled with an SPF –– that’s sun protection factor. SPF gives you a measure of protection against UVB rays. (SPF doesn’t take UVA rays into its measurement.) When choosing a sunscreen, look for a product with broad spectrum coverage. Broad spectrum is your indication the sunscreen protects against UVB rays.

A higher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean it protects better. Some 93% of UVB rays are filtered by an SPF 15, and the protection percentage doesn’t go up exponentially the higher the SPF. If a higher SPF makes you feel better, go for it. Either way, apply 15-20 minutes before going outside so it has time to absorb, and be sure to reapply every two hours. Scalp or where your hair parts, ears, back of the neck, tops of the feet are easy to miss, so pay extra attention.

Yearly skin assessment
Keeping tabs on your skin is an important first step to preventive skincare. (If you notice any changes to moles or lesions, such as change in color, it’s time to get checked.) For preventive care, contact the Zest concierge to schedule a yearly skin assessment with your PCP or dermatologist.

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Deborah Fellinger
Content strategist at Zest Health. Writes copy, drinks coffee. Author of this and other sentences.