Should you wear sunscreen often? Your skin is the largest organ that your body has, and all too often, it gets ignored. Protecting your cells from sun damage, processing vitamin D when being outside, and helping regulate your body temperature a just a few functions provided by this vital organ. Though the sun provides much-needed vitamin D to your body, its Ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause lasting skin damage, even leading to cancer in some cases.
People who work outdoors are 2.5-3.5 times more likely to develop skin cancer than people who work indoors. Whether you’re working outdoors for your job or spending a lot of time in the sun because of a hobby, providing top-tier protection to your skin should be a high priority. When you wear sunscreen, it is one of the first forms of skin protection, but it has to be worn properly to best protect your skin.
Why You Should Wear Sunscreen 101
When looking at a bottle of sunscreen, the first thing you’ll see is “SPF” with a number behind it, some sunscreens will say “SPF 50” or “SPF 30,” but most people don’t know what SPF actually is. “SPF” stands for “sun protection factor” and it is the measurement used to describe the amount of protection from UVB rays, which are the culprits of sunburns.
The number behind the “SPF” tells you how much more protection that sunscreen will provide than if you weren’t using any at all. “SPF 30” means you’re getting 30x more protection than when you don’t have any sunscreen at all. The higher the SPF number, the more UVB rays it will block. “SPF 50” repels about 98% of UVB rays and “SPF 100” clocks in at about 99% of UVB rays. No sunscreen can repel 100% of these rays, but it is a critical component in the fight for healthy skin.
Keep in mind that “SPF” only points to the UVB ray protection and the sun emits UVB and UVA rays, which are both harmful. To get protection from UVA and UVB rays, wear sunscreen that says “broad protection” on it.
How You Should Wear Sunscreen
Sitting next to your seatbelt in the car won’t protect you in a crash; having it buckled will. Sunscreen is the same – you must apply & wear sunscreen correctly in order for it to do its job. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before outdoor activity, and it should be worn EVERY DAY. Even on days when you don’t have work, put on sunscreen. Wearing it regularly will decrease the chances that you forget to wear it, too.
You’ll need about a teaspoon of sunscreen to cover your face, ears, and neck properly. It may sound like a lot, but lather that goop everywhere and your skin will thank you. Even areas like your lips, ears, and scalp should be covered. The trickiest part is reapplying. Many people never think about this step, but sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours.
Just Do It
For some reason, men are often taught that they should have tough skin, exposed to the sun. News flash: sunscreen is for everyone. Everyone is susceptible to dangerous skin damage, and everyone can be impacted by skin cancer, but as an outdoor worker, you’re much more at risk. Quit being stubborn about taking care of yourself. Apply and wear sunscreen regularly; your skin will thank you!