Spring break season has begun and many families will be heading to the mountains for skiing or to the beach for some warmer weather. Either destination requires sun protection, especially for the face.
I have just returned from skiing with my best friend from medical school days, who is a dermatologist. Whenever we travel together I know that one of her big focuses will be if I am wearing sunscreen and enough of it!! She was teaching (reprimanding) the teens and young adults on the trip as well, as they needed some sunscreen "re-education".
The sun was shining for our entire trip and we had lots of snow, so perfect conditions for great skiing but also for a sunburn. On top of the direct sun, the reflection of the sun off the snow (or the sand at the beach) just adds to the risk for sun damage to the face.
The best way to protect your face (and this goes for other areas too) is to apply a GENEROUS amount of sunscreen to the face and neck at least 30 minutes before heading outside. She advocates layering sunscreen as well. By that I mean put on a base of sunscreen and really rub it into the skin.
If you are using a spray on sunscreen you need to rub it in as well. I used an SPF of 60 for my face. Then wait for 10-15 minutes and get those ski clothes on (that takes awhile). After letting the sunscreen absorb I reapplied another GENEROUS (maybe an ounce) of sunscreen to my face and neck. What my derm friend told me is that layering a 60 SPF plus a 60 SPF does not make the protection 120 SPF, but it does make it more likely that you are getting better sun protection than one layer alone. Make sure that you are also applying sunscreen to the lips followed by Chapstick or lip balm that also contains sunscreen.
Now, throw a small tube of sunscreen and lip balm in your pocket so that you can re-apply later on, as you know that you should continue to re-apply if you are spending the day outside. There are also some good sunscreen sticks that are convenient with an SPF of 50 or more. These are great for a parent to use on children off and on during the day. I am a fan of the Neutrogena and Cerave products, as they are hypoallergenic as well.
Enjoy the break....but be sun smart too.
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