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To Your Health!

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Ruby Laine photo.jpg
Ruby Laine
Sun Screen is the Skincare Super Hero 

by Ruby Laine

Sunscreen is the key to keeping your skin healthy and is often overlooked. The sun's UV rays are potent and reach us all the time, whether at the beach on a hot day or walking outside while it's cloudy. You could even be inside with the sun shining through the windows or skiing during the winter. Our skin is always at risk, and you probably won't realize it until much damage has already been done. I recently have been on my own sunscreen mission because, besides, on days I know have a high UV index, I didn't protect my skin. My goal is to share the information I just learned to convince others to join me on my new skincare path, it doesn't take a lot, and it will be worth it.


What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number, for instance, 30, tells you that you are 30 times more protected from the sun than you are without. The level of SPF needed on a daily basis is not that high, depending on your level of exposure. If you are inside for most of your day, an SPF cosmetic product with 15 should be fine; however, if you spend more time outside, it should be closer to 30. Reapplication is also super important, especially if you are in constant exposure. It is recommended every 2 hours, but it's best to reply immediately for swimming and sweating.


Should you still use sunscreen in the winter?

Yes! The rays from the sun are mighty, and just because you don't see it or feel it like you would in the warmer months does not mean it is impacting you any less. The sun's rays will continue to break down your skin cells no matter the season. Participating in winter sports or even experiencing winter weather conditions, like a powerful wind, can remove sunscreen easier than summer sweating.


What are the health benefits of using sunscreen?

  • Avoiding skin cancer

  • Avoiding premature aging (wrinkles, sun spots, sagging)

  • It can reduce skin redness and treat uneven skin

  • It can even out your skin tone

  • Sunscreen also offers more protection than wearing a long sleeve


What are some recommended sunscreen tips?

            Here are some things to look for when finding a sunscreen that works best for you. In the past, most labels only included if they protected your skin from UVB rays, which are the rays that will cause you to get sunburnt. UVA rays are another thing that also needs protection since these are the rays that cause tanning and premature aging. A common misconception is that darker skin tones don't require as much SPF; while your skin does protect you more from the sun, you are still risking damage. 

 How to Buy

  • Look for a broad spectrum for both UVB and UVA ray protection.

  • Pick an application that will get you to do it! (there is a kind that comes out like whipped cream!)

  • Water-resistant ones are ideal for swimming and not for being washed off easily.

  • Look for antioxidants - the sun causes you to lose some of your natural antioxidants, and some sunscreens help add more and tend to last longer.

  • Lips are commonly forgotten, but you can find chapstick with SPF too!


What about looking for different skin types?

  • Mineral sunscreen works best for sensitive skin

  • Gels are best for oily skin

  • Creams are better for dry skin

  • Oil-free sunscreens are best for acne-prone skin

Ruby Laine photo.jpg

Ruby Laine (she/her) is a current undergraduate student at The George Washington University pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Public Health. She is passionate about improving health outcomes for underserved communities, families, and children. She wishes to assist in expanding access to healthcare and promote healthy lifesyle behaviors. She has previously worked with the NYC City Council in District 2 under Carlina Rivera while being an advocate for constituents and the community. As a member of the editorial team of Today’s Patient as a Senior Contributor, Ruby focuses on reaching out to wider audiences, to spread awareness for health concerns and improve health literacy.

March 2023 page 3

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