Protect your skin April showers, bring May flowers. And also bring skin damage if you’re outside enjoying the wonderful spring weather when it’s not raining. As spring arrives, outdoor activities spike in Colorado. With the wonderful spring weather, it’s important to remember to keep your skin protected. You may often fall to the allure of getting a little more sun than you received all winter. But it’s always very important to make sure you have applied your sunscreen prior to getting sun. Do you understand SPF? Sun Protection Factor, otherwise known as SPF refers to the amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. In theory, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection. A product with an SPF of 15 will filter out approximately 93 percent of UVB rays; SPF 30 filters out about 97 percent. It is always recommended that you start with an SPF of 30 but other factors such as skin tone, history of skin cancer, and more can affect how your skin will react in the sun. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind the following tips. Select Sunscreen with UVA and UVB. Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB. Look for products containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because they protect against the full spectrum of rays and keep you covered more than other sunscreens. Lotion Up Often Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. And more often if you swim or exercise. Water, sweat, and clothing can remove sunscreen from your skin. Apply liberally and often. Consider Sun-Protective Clothing Choose clothing that covers you up before going into the sun. Dark cothing can block nearly all UV radiation and tightly woven fabrics are more protective than looser weaves. If you’re wondering how well your clothing will protect you, just hold it up to the sun. If you can see light passing through it, UV rays can get through, too. Check your skin regularly Keep an eye on your skin even when you’re not in the sun. Look for new moles or changes in older ones. If you have concerns, report them to your primary care provider or dermatologist. Your doctor can take a look, and, if needed, refer you to a specialist. Still have questions about sunblock and skin damage? Talk to your doctor and have them screen you for any possible signs of skin damage.