Posted by Laurie Snyder & filed under .

Ultraviolet radiation and UV damage is the number one cause of premature skin aging—Hi there, sun—that’s a big concern because of aging, but it’s also a health concern because it can cause skin cancer. And in many cases, it does. In fact, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, affecting over 2 million Americans every year

There’s a big misconception that you only need sun protection when you’re sitting in the sun, or, that only your face needs SPF. Not only is daily sun protection important, but it’s also necessary for all exposed skin—not just the face.

The best way to protect skin health and prevent skin cancer is to limit sun exposure. If there’s daylight, there’s exposure—and, you’re exposed all the time, even when it’s winter. Even if the sun isn’t visible during the day, the UV radiation penetrates the clouds, which means you always need to protect yourself.

Cover the areas that receive the most sun exposure like your décolletage, your neck, and your hands. You forget that you wash your hands so many times a day and that you don’t re-apply, so be conscious of that. Also, the tops of your ears get direct sun exposure if your hair is short or pulled back.

Additionally, avoid prolonged time in the sun, and, when possible, choose to be in the shade rather than in direct sunlight. Wear protective clothing and sunglasses (your eyes can be harmed by the sun, too!), and use sunscreen between 10 am and 4 pm Sunscreen is especially important at that time when the sun’s rays are most intense. If you use a moisturizer in the morning, make it a lightweight moisturizer that already has SPF built in but doesn’t feel too greasy or heavy, like EltaMD’s UV Daily Broad-Spectrum sunscreen. Many hand lotions have SPF now, too.

Overall, be conscious about what skin is exposed aside from your face and aim to lather up as much, and as often, as possible. Limit time in the sun to protect your skin against early wrinkles, damage, and disease, and if you spot a suspicious mark on your skin, visit us to get it checked out. Call us at 512.379.6090 or book an appointment online so one of our providers can assess the areas of concern.