We wear our skin all day every day. It is the biggest organ we have. It protects us, and it is so important to make sure we are showing it some love and protecting it right back! There are so many things that can cause damage to our skin including polluted air, dry dusty weather, and seasonal allergens. Our skin can also be damaged internally from our nutrition and sleeping habits. There are many factors that contribute to the damage and aging of our skin, but the number one leading cause is right above us-the sun!  

Most people assume that the sun can only cause damage to your skin if you are out sunbathing in direct sunlight with no UV protection on a scorching summer day. While this is partly true, there are also many ways our skin can be exposed to sun damage. You can be exposed to UV rays at any time of the day, hot or cold, even if it’s cloudy! UV rays send out energy and reflect so they are always present during the day no matter the time of day. UV rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that come from the sun and some man-made devices such as tanning beds. Exposing our skin to these harmful rays can cause many unwanted and dangerous skin conditions such as skin cancer, fine lines and wrinkles, sunspots, hyperpigmentation, and sunburn. Did you know that exposure to UV rays is the number one cause of aging in our skin? The only way our skin can really be protected from these harmful rays is if we protect it somehow. 

The best way to cover or “protect” our skin from UV damage is to use an SPF. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. You can find this ingredient in many topical facial and body products such as makeup, sunscreen, lip products, and more. So how do you know which is best for you? The number that you see on all SPF products indicates how much it is going to protect your skin. For example, SPF 15 versus SPF 50 are going to give you very different levels of protection, so I always recommend going with the highest SPF available. All SPF products are designed to absorb or reflect the UV rays, therefore protecting your skin. I also recommend doing your research and finding the best quality SPF out there. Certain brands and products such as makeup claim to contain a certain amount of SPF in them but that may be diluted by other ingredients or fillers. I always recommend using a high-quality SPF underneath your makeup for the most protection and to always reapply every 2 hours to make sure you are staying protected throughout the day! Nowadays there are also SPF products that also have blue light protection in them which is a bonus if you find yourself in front of a screen frequently. I also recommend pairing SPF use with other protective gear such as sunglasses, a hat, or even an umbrella. So next time you are headed to the lake this summer be sure to stop in and together we can pick out the best SPF for you. Trust me, your skin will thank you ????  

By Meredith Weberg, Skin Specialist