Skin damage from unprotected exposure to the sun can occur any time of year, even during the winter.
“The highest level of concern is usually during the summer months, but sun damage can occur year-round, even on cloudy or rainy days,” said Sarah L. Taylor, assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “In fact, many people don’t realize that you also get sun exposure through windows at the office, at home or in cars, which is why dermatologists recommend that everyone wear broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, all year.”
Taylor offered some simple steps to prevent sun damage and photo-aging:
# Broad spectrum, physical blocker sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide with 30 or higher SPF are best.
# Over-apply liquid sunscreen, not sprays, including sides of face, ears, front and back of neck, hands and arms and any other skin that is exposed.
# New powder sunscreens make it easier to reapply (even over makeup) during the day. Try to re-apply every two hours if there is a lot of sunlight in your office or workplace.
# A common mis-conception is that using multiple products with sunscreen, such as a moisturizer and makeup, provides double the protection, which isn’t true, Taylor said. In fact, some sunscreen ingredients can deactivate others.
# There is also scientific evidence that certain supplements may help decrease the effects of UV radiation on the skin, Taylor said.
# Niacinamide, one of the B vitamins, is considered safe at doses of 500 mg taken twice a day.
Taylor stressed that any woman who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant should consult her physician before using any topical sunscreen, retinoid or nutritional supplement.