Here Comes The Sun

Here at Raw Apothecary headquarters, summer in full glow.

Every season leaves you susceptible to sun exposure, which is good for the soul (and the tan) but maybe not so great for your overall skin health. In the summer, this becomes an even greater problem.

Sunburns are only the tip of the iceberg.

Premature aging like wrinkles and dark spots are also caused by inadequate skin protection, and so is skin cancer.

Stay safe in the sun with some of our solar suggestions.


1. Resist the rays!

When it comes to sunscreen, there’s a lot of options out there.

There’s SPF 5, 10, 15 - all the way up to, yes, 100. But is all that necessary?

Studies say no.

In reality, SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays, and SPF 100 only blocks 99%. Double the amount of UVB-blocking chemicals, but only a marginal change in actual protection.

In fact, the most important aspect of sun protection isn’t how high the SPF is, but how frequently and thoroughly it is applied.

Sunscreen should cover every exposed area of your skin, especially your face, and should be reapplied every two hours.

That includes everyone!

Every level of melanin realness benefits from frequent sunscreen application, and that’s a fact.

2. Timing is everything.

It’s tempting to be out in the sun all day, but how long should you be out there?

It depends, but over five hours is usually pushing it.

Reapplying sunscreen may prevent UVB rays, but it’s usually harder to stop UVA rays. If you want specifics, Dr. Malgorzata Koperska created a calculator to determine your perfect beach time using factors like SPF protection, skin phototype, and sun intensity.

The general rule of thumb is “If shadows are small, seek shade.”

The sun’s rays are at their most dangerous between the hours of 10am and 3pm, which is when the sun is highest in the sky.

We aren’t saying to avoid it at all costs, but make sure to apply sunscreen when you’re out and about.


3. Watch the water!

Sometimes, it hurts to be a beach babe.

The water’s fine, but its reflective properties aren’t. Water reflects up to 8% of incoming UV rays!

That’s an extra 8% on top of whatever’s coming directly from the sun. Ouch.

Not to mention, beach sand is full of reflective minerals that can bounce up to 15%, and seafoam up to 25%.

We suggest limiting beach time during peak sun hours, and making sure to reapply your sunscreen frequently.

Even waterproof sunscreens have their limit, so make sure you’re not losing SPF between swim seshes.

4. Cover up.

We know what you’re gonna say. “Cover up? It’s summer!”

But just bear with us a little. You don’t have to chill on the beach in a onesie.

However, it’s a good idea to throw on a shawl or cover-up during peak hours, or when just getting out of the water.

This protects your skin when it is at its most vulnerable, until you can reapply your sunscreen or seek shade.

If you aren’t wearing sunscreen, this tip is even more important.

Any situation that puts you out in the sun for more than 20 minutes raises your risk for sun damage, even if it’s just a casual jog or a drive downtown.


5. After-care.

Even when following all of our tips, there’s no surefire way to avoid all sun damage.

That’s right, not even those SPF 100 lotions protect you from both types of UV rays.

This is why caring for your skin after sun exposure is so important.

We have a lotion for that, if you’re feeling crafty, but the general rule is to moisturize with gentle products.

Avoiding hot showers is another biggie, because that just increases inflammation and dries out the skin.

The inflammation of a sunburn pulls the skin taut, and dry skin will crack when this occurs.

Taking a cool shower or applying ice to the burned area will reduce that swelling, and using a non-abrasive lotion or oil will keep the skin moisturized.

We love the sun, but we love our skin more.

Skin cancer is no joke, and studies show if you have five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20, you’re 80% more likely to develop melanoma.

Keep an eye out for new, irregular moles, shiny pink or brown lesions, and scaly spots. Those are all early warning signs of skin cancer, and a reason to schedule a doctor appointment.

So take care of yourselves out there!

Paige Penfold