Summer is what we look forward to all year, but before you enjoy that sun, consider how to properly protect your skin from harmful UV rays. From covering to moisturizing, there are many ways you can shield your skin. It just takes a little forethought before hitting the beach or your neighbor’s cookout.
The statistics on skin cancer are quite sobering: Every year in this country, there are more than 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in about 3.3 million people, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. But skin cancer isn’t the only worry you may have about getting some sun.
If you have a scar, you may be concerned with how it will react after exposure to sunlight. The American Academy of Dermatology points out that scars are more sensitive to sunlight than non-scarred skin. If you have a new scar, in particular, your scar may look raw and reddish; if it’s old, it will appear white. Either way, scars need special treatment.
That’s because scars don’t get a nice, even tan like the rest of your skin does. Instead, due to hyperpigmentation, they become discolored.
The first step is to choose the right sunscreen. There are scar-friendly sunscreens out there on the market, so look for one with an SPF of 30 or more. You may notice lots of products with SPFs of between 50 and 150. You may think that higher is better, but really, this could just be overkill. High SPF products tend to contain extra chemical ingredients that are prone to irritating your skin and can bring on an allergic reaction.
Look for sunscreen for sensitive scarred skin. Ask your dermatologist about these if you can’t find them in your local drugstore.
Now that you have the right sunscreen, apply it often. If you’re at the beach or the pool and you’re in and out of the water, or sweating from that volleyball game, re-apply every hour. Before even going into the sun at all, you should apply the sunscreen – it’s best to do this about 15 minutes beforehand. Get ample coverage for your scar area.
Sunscreen is critical because it keeps scars from looking worse than they really are. Sun exposure on a scar will make it turn red or white, becoming more noticeable in the summer. Of course, sunscreen is also vital to maintaining healthy, young-looking skin with an even skin tone, keeping premature wrinkles and sun spots at bay.
Other ways to keep the sun from getting at your scar including wearing a wide brimmed hat for facial scars, and wearing light-colored long sleeves and pants when possible. There are many breathable materials out there to choose from so you can stay cool even in the warmest weather.
In addition to sunscreen and covering up, it’s important to adhere to a regular routine of scar gel treatment. Scarfade, the most effective gel on the market today, works to heal and reduce the appearance of many types of scars. Now that we’re well underway with the nice weather, it’s smart to pick up a tube or two to have on hand.