How many of you have packed up towels, snacks, food, drinks & kids before heading to the pool or lake?
Did you apply your sunscreen?
Or do you wait until you get to the pool or lake and THEN apply SPF to yourself and/or your kids?
THAT is my biggest pet peeve, because you just tossed money out the window & wasted all that time applying sunscreen. Everyone immediately hops in the pool or lake & the SPF is washed off.
It’s one thing to re-apply yours and your kids SPF after 1-2 hours of being in the pool. That’s better than not applying at all & can prevent a mid-day sunburn.
You need to get that initial coat of SPF on your skin before even leaving the house.
Today I am here to create awareness of the fact that your SPF must be applied before leaving the house, especially if you know you’ll be in the pool or at the lake for several hours, especially in the middle of the day.
We all know middle of the day isn’t ideal, but when we are on vacation, you’re going to soak up every minute outdoors (at least that’s what I would be doing).
If you read a sunscreen label, they should all state that you’ll need to apply at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors.
This is crucial, especially if you’ll be outdoors for several hours. A good SPF base is key to preventing a sunburn, which can lead to dark spots and skin cancer over time.
These are 2 points I’ll be covering today: 1) Why you must apply SPF 20-minutes before heading outdoors and 2) Why sunburns are so bad.
Let’s get started…
Ideally, you should start with about a shot glass worth of SPF for an average 130lb woman. About 1/2 that is suggested for your kids. Men should be about 1 1/2-2 shot glasses.
Next, make sure to grab a physical SPF – meaning chemical-free and contains ONLY Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide.
Chemical SPF ingredients are any ingredient you can’t pronounce, these can cause skin sensitivity and irritation to the skin that may end up looking like a sunburn, but occur several hours or the next day.
The biggest difference is that the Physical sunscreens remain on the skin’s surface and act like a mirror, bouncing the sun’s rays away from your skin.
Chemical sunscreens also sit on the surface, but once the sun hits your skin, you then absorb the UV rays into the skin. This still causes minimal sun damage to the skin, even with SPF on.
Regardless of the type of SPF you have, it takes 20 minutes to become effective at blocking out the sun’s UV rays.
Most last about 1-2 hours, but if you are at the pool & lake & spending time in the water, you’ll need to reapply every time you get out. If you’re at a public pool, I re-apply to myself and my kids every time they call adult swim, which is every hour.
As long as you’re reapplying your SPF after you get a good base, you won’t have to worry about sunburns or damage to your skin.
Let’s move on to why getting a sunburn is so bad for you!
What is a sunburn?
A sunburn is inflammation from excessive sun exposure on unprotected skin. This can happen almost immediately to light skin types and over the course of an hour for darker skins. Even really dark skin get sunburns, it’s just not as noticeable.
No matter what your skin type, you MUST always wear SPF and re-apply every 1-2 hours.
What happens when you get a sunburn is the sun’s UV rays penetrate through the skin’s Epidermis, which is the skin’s barrier and all the way down to the Dermis, this layer is the live skin layer and must be protected.
A suntan is the Epidermis darkening to protect the Dermis from damage. Too much damage results in inflammation, which is a result of the Epidermis working extra hard to protect the live skin.
Too many sunburns and the result ends up as dark skin patches or sun spots, uneven skin tone and for many, skin cancer.
Our skin is a smart organ and remembers damage done to the skin. Over time, the melanocytes (which are the skin cells that give our skin it’s color by producing a substance called melanin) become damaged from multiple sunburns or severe sunburns.
This is why we suffer from freckles as kids and teenagers, dark spots as we age and even patches as we continue to age.
Some people suffer from leathery skin, depending on the severity of their sun damage!
Skin cancer is another scary result of sunburns and even just many years of sun exposure on unprotected skin.
When I was a kid, I practically lived in my grandparents pool and we NEVER wore sunscreen. I got plenty of burns, but always ended up the summer with a nice, brown tan. It was common to be tan back in the 90’s because we didn’t realize how important SPF was.
When my family spent vacations in Florida or Mexico, we did apply SPF, but the sun was stronger then and I do remember getting multiple burns over the years.
Now as I approach 40, I am diligently working hard to repair the large patches of brown spots all over my cheeks, upper lip and forehead. I KNOW these patches are a result of those summer pool days & sunburns on vacation.
Lastly, the best form of prevention is constant application of SPF but also heading to the Dermatologist every year for a full body skin scan to make sure that you don’t have any suspicious spots or moles that could potentially be skin cancer.
More and more women and men are getting cases of skin cancer in their 20’s & 30’s due to the strength of the sun’s rays, our poor diets and excess medications that are creating our skin and body to become less resistant to the sun’s rays.
Just remember to be smart when heading off to the lake or pool this week and any other time this summer you’ll be spending in the sun.
Always remember, to apply your SPF before heading out of the house.
I apply SPF to my kids and myself before getting our suits on, this way by the time I pack up all our snacks, towels & toys and get to the pool, it’s been more than 20 minutes.
Any questions or SPF suggestions, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy 4th of July