The brutal South Carolina heat has officially made itself right at home. At least you can start working on your summer tan, right? Shall we break out the baby oil and sun reflectors? Not so fast.
The stronger the sun’s UV index, the stronger the effect it has on your skin. You may be thinking, “Well, isn’t that a good thing? Stronger sun effects mean a faster farewell to pasty winter coloring!” That may be true—at the expense of potential sun spots, sunburn, sun poisoning, and not to mention premature wrinkling.
That being said, the Ivy team would like to present (drumroll, please)…
Ivy’s 10 ways to survive a UV 10:
- Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Ever heard of the saying, “The simplest answer is often the correct one?” The easiest way to avoid harmful sun exposure is to avoid sun exposure in general. Typically, these hours are when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Avoid tanning beds. Okay, so we’re not exactly giving you a lot of opportunities to get bronzed, but trust us, tanning beds are a no! Not only do they contribute to intense premature aging and leathery skin texture, but they increase the risk of developing melanoma by 75%. Plus, self-tanning lotion has come a long way – we’re thoroughly impressed.
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you go outside. This gives the sunscreen a chance to soak in, bind, and act as a sturdy layer of defense for your skin.
- Reapply every two hours. Some people make the mistake of applying sunscreen once and thinking they’re good to go for the rest of the day. Specialists recommend reapplying the same amount every two hours.
- Use a SPF of 30 or higher. What does the number 30 even mean? It takes unprotected skin roughly 20 minutes to redden, whereas it would take approximately 30 times longer (10 hours) if skin is covered with SPF 30 lotion. Just remember—not all sunscreens are created equal.
- Look for “broad spectrum” on the lotion label. We know, we’re really harping on the sunscreen, but it’s easy to be enticed by good-smelling or well-marketed lotions. Unfortunately, not all lotions have broad spectrum protection, meaning they don’t protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Both types of rays play a key role in the development of skin cancer. Save yourself a trip to the drug store to pick up aloe or anti-aging cream by using a lotion that protects you from both kinds of rays.
Before we keep going, we realize we gave you a lot of provisions on sunscreen. If you’re unsure where to start your hunt for the perfect lotion, Aveda has an incredible SPF Protection daily lotion that’s both dermatologist tested and suitable for all skin types!
- Accessorize with protective sunglasses. Speaking of broad spectrum protection, the sun glasses you wear can not only complete your look but prevent your eyelids and physical eye from sun damage. While bigger is better when it comes to eye protection, if oversized, dramatic shades aren’t your thing, the most important quality of your glasses is that they have that UVA/UVB dual protection. Keep in mind polarized does not equal broad spectrum, nor do the darkness of your lenses have anything to do with the amount of protection you’re getting.
- Top off your look with a hat. Yes, the pun was totally intentional. Not only do hats protect your scalp, hair, and face from damaging sun rays, but they’re seriously in right now. Is your look beachy and feminine? Try a big floppy hat. Consider yourself more of a laid-back, cool girl? A baseball cap helps you stay looking sporty and your head feeling secure. Boho chic? Keep it Coachella with a trendy panama hat.
- Live it up in linens. Another hot trend (last pun, we promise!) is wearing long-sleeved linen shirts or full-length linen pants to keep your skin covered. Long sleeves in this heat?! Yes, we know it sounds a little counterintuitive, but linen is breathable and airy, so it’s likely to make you sweat less than denim shorts or a polyester tank. Linen is also made of natural fibers, so it’s highly absorbent of sweat and dries fast.
- Stay mindful of your exposure and learn about your specific risks. There are so many factors that can change the effect of the sun on your skin. Certain medicines, especially blood pressure medication, can cause increased sensitivity. Genetics and family history can play a role in the way your skin absorbs ultraviolet rays, as well. You should regularly see a dermatologist to learn about your individual risk factors, develop a summer exposure plan, and check the status of moles and sun spots.
Thanks so much to the very talented and resourceful Rosie Maederer for these pivotal summer health and beauty tips! Rosie is a Level 4 Master stylist at our Eastside location. Check out her latest work on Instagram!