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Tan now, pay later — protect your skin from sun damage

Summer is the time of the year when everyone wants to have a beautiful glowing skin, and the only thing that comes to people’s mind when you hear glowing skin is tanning. However, what most people don’t realize is that without skin protection, the sun can actually cause a lot of skin damage. In addition, what should come to everyone’s mind when the sun is brought to people’s attention are ways of protecting the skin this summer.
Professor Ju Chou, Ph.D., who specializes in studying the skin in the Department of Chemistry & Physics at FGCU, shared her knowledge on sun protection.
“It is imperative to be aware of how much sunscreen you are putting on when you’re out in the sun, the SPF value and how long you will need to reapply,” Chou said. “My husband got sun damages from not wearing sunscreen. Florida has a higher rate of skin cancer than other states, and even when it is cloudy out, it is actually the time when everyone should be cautious of the sun and keep reapplying because the sun still damages the skin.”
Not only do people get the most sun when it’s cloudy out, but sunscreen brands make a huge difference as well. Chou said that the same SPF may have a different effect in one brand to another. Also, sunscreen SPF value 30-50 is ideal for the sun because the higher the SPF is in the sunscreen, the more the sun radiation absorbs through the skin, so sometimes too high of an SPF is no good either.  So remember to look for sunscreen that protects your skin from a broader range like zinc or titanium and to always wear sun hats and sunglasses because the sun won’t reach the skin directly if you are covering your head.
Don’t get me wrong. The sun is very important because “sun exposure causes absorption from calcium into the body,” Chou said. The sun gives us the most calcium, which everyone needs for strong bones. So tanning is not a bad thing, as long as you tan the right way.
Linda Amos, administrative assistant in the deans office of Arts and Sciences at FGCU, said, “Over the years, I have had many nieces and nephews come from the North to stay with me over their spring break. My best advice has always been ‘don’t forget about your feet.’”
For some reason, we think that the sun will not affect our feet. Put extra sunscreen on your feet and do it often because having flaming feet is extremely painful and difficult to deal with,” she said. Amos is most certainly correct. Don’t forget your feet because they can still get sun damage, and even worse, skin cancer if you’re not cautious enough.
Most of the sensitive areas of the body are where the sun hits the most, such as your nose, ears, neck, feet, lower back and even hands. Even if you don’t plan on tanning, applying daily moisturizer with SPF 15 on the face is also imperative.
“Always moisturize because moisturizer protects your skin from pollutants getting onto your skin throughout the day. It keeps the dirt away like a shield for protection,” said Patricia Rice, office manager of the deans office of Arts and Sciences. “Moisturize right after you get out of the shower because it will naturally moisturize your skin.”
Rice recommends brands, such as Lancome or L’Oreal for a daily moisturizer that will benefit your face.
Taylor Gilhauley, a freshman majoring in elementary education, travels throughout the summer and has plenty of great tips when it comes to protecting the skin.
“Use lots of moisturizer if you plan on traveling to an area with dry climate this summer in addition to sunscreen,” she said.  “My family and I traveled to Vegas last summer, and it was a dry heat that caused the skin to crack and split, but by using moisturizer, it helped smooth the skin and protect it from the sun along with applying sunscreen.
”Summer is a time for sun, fun, relaxing and protecting. So don’t forget to apply sunscreen and moisturizer daily.

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