9 tips to protect your skin

Are you ready for fun in the sun? Whether you're lounging on the beach on vacation or building that new patio, extended exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can be harmful.

"Excessive sun exposure can be uncomfortable and can result in damage to skin and skin cancer," says Roxana Chapman, D.O., section head, Dermatology, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

UV rays are an invisible form of radiation that can penetrate the skin and damage cells. A glowing summer tan may look great short-term, but over time UV radiation damages fibers in the skin, causing it to sag, stretch, bruise, tear and wrinkle. While not apparent right away, constant, unprotected exposure to the sun will make skin age much faster and increase chances of developing skin cancer.

"Prevention is the key," says Dr. Chapman.

If you enjoy spending time outdoors in the sunshine, follow these nine simple steps to protect your skin:

  • Avoid excessive sun, especially during the summer months between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves.
  • Apply sunscreen to exposed areas of the body 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Use sunscreen that provides protection against UVB radiation and UVA radiation.
  • Put on a sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF of 35 for prolonged exposure.
  • Use at least 1 to 2 ounces of sunscreen to fully cover the body, reapply every 3 to 4 hours.
  • If swimming, reapply water-resistant or waterproof sunscreens every 2 hours.
  • Check the expiration date. Sunscreens should be less than 3 years old.
  • Protect your lips with lip balm with an SPF of 30 or greater.