Summer is upon us and it’s likely you may wear sandals, flipflops or go barefoot. This is the best time to remind you to apply sunscreen to the top of your feet and legs (as well as the rest of your exposed skin).
Years ago, I made the mistake of going to the beach and not thinking that I needed sunscreen on my feet. That sunburn on the top of my feet was not pleasant at all. I learned my lesson and now I make sure to protect not only my feet, but my kids too.
Not protecting your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation reveals consequences often seen later in life. UV radiation significantly contributes to accelerated aging of the skin. Many skin cancers are linked to sun exposure. And common medications like antibiotics or even ibuprofen can increase a person’s photosensitivity leading to more sun damage.
When choosing a sunblock for your skin protection, make sure it has “UVA” and “UVB” coverage. Both types of sun radiation cause damage. The SPF (Sun Protective Factor) should be at least 30 or higher.
The two basic types of sunscreen are physical and chemical. Physical sunscreen is creamy and reflects UV radiation (eg. Zinc Oxide). It works as soon as you apply it, it is not absorbed through the skin, but can be difficult to spread evenly and can leave skin looking pale like a ghost. Chemical sunscreens are easier to apply, they are absorbed into the blood stream through the skin though, and take about 15 minutes to start protecting against UV radiation.
Some drawbacks for sunscreens include needing to reapply every two hours and/or after swimming. Be reminded that peak sun exposure is usually between 10am and 2pm, and overcast weather doesn’t stop UV radiation.
PHOTO CAP: Protect your skin every day with sunscreen