The Importance of Sunscreen for Maintaining Optimal Skin Health

Side view of a young woman applying sunscreen on shoulders a sunny day | Photographer: Wavebreak Media

Everyone knows that it's important to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun during the warm weather seasons. This is true for everyone and for all skin types. All skin types benefit from using sunscreen daily. However, far fewer people actually know why it's necessary to protect your skin. We'll consider some of those reasons during this discussion. The sun's ultraviolet radiation can cause damage to your skin even on cloudy days. It can eventually lead to the formation of wrinkles, discoloration, and skin cancer. You should examine your skin periodically for signs of new spots that appear, or for any changes that are identifiable on the surface of your skin. Here are some of the reasons why all this attention is necessary.

Discoloration of your skin

Skin discoloration is unsightly, and this is especially possible later in life. These discolored areas are called sunspots. They are brownish or tan in color. They most often appear on the hands, arms, face, or head, and they affect men and women equally. By applying sunscreen throughout the day, you can avoid developing these discoloration spots.

Reducing the possibility of sunburn

Anyone who has ever stayed in the sun too long understands the painful feeling of a sunburn. If you regularly get sunburned, that causes damage that leads to skin cancer, or to premature wrinkling. If you develop a really bad sunburn that blisters, you should immediately contact your local dermatologist so that scarring can be minimized and you can get some relief from the discomfort.

Reduce the possibility of skin cancer

By using a sunscreen every day, you can avoid the possibility of developing skin cancer. Statistically, 20% of all Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they reach the age of 70. You can lower your own risk of skin cancer by using a good sunscreen of at least SPF-30 several times each day. You can get even better protection from SPF-50. Whenever you know you'll be spending a lot of time outside, or you'll be in the water, you should apply sunscreen more frequently.

Prevent premature aging

When you're exposed to the sun with no protection, it causes major damage to skin cells, collagen, and the elastin of the skin. Over time, this can develop premature signs of aging, and those include wrinkles and fine lines, discoloration, and a leathery appearance. Premature aging occurs frequently in those people who spend a great deal of time in the sun without using sunscreen. These skin issues are avoided by using sunscreen on a daily basis.

Reduce inflammation

When your skin is exposed to the sun, it can cause inflammation and redness to appear. This can be a major problem for people who already have skin issues like rosacea and psoriasis. By applying sunscreen each day conscientiously, you can avoid incurring that kind of inflammation. Anyone prone to redness, or who has unusually sensitive skin, should seek out a sunscreen that includes titanium dioxide or zinc oxide because these include gentler ingredients. It's also a good idea to avoid spray-on sunscreens because these can contain alcohol, which has a tendency to dry out the skin.

Hopefully, this information was helpful. I always encourage using reef-safe sunscreen that uses minerals (zinc or titanium dioxide) rather than chemicals. Click here for some reef-safe sunscreen recommendations.

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