We know the importance of SPF in protecting our skin and body against harmful exposure, sunburn, and even skin cancer. But does every part of your body need SPF? Do your nails need SPF? Here's what you should know.
Sunscreen protects your skin against harmful UVA (ultraviolet A) and UBVA (ultraviolet B) rays. These rays are short and long waves, respectively, and penetrate deep into your skin's thickest layer. Sunscreen protection is measured in SPF, or sun protection factor, and not wearing it can result in damage in the form of burns, wrinkles, premature aging, and a suppressed immune system. You should know this by now, but if you don't, now you do. (Time to lather up!)
I always recommend slathering sunscreen on your hands during the summer, because that area can definitely get skin cancer whether you're on the beach or driving in a sun-filled car with the windows down. While you might think that's good enough for your nails, it's not. According to Byrdie, you can definitely get skin cancer underneath your nails. An indicator to look out for is a dark stripe from the base of your nail to the tip. The great thing is, you can easily protect yourself by going and getting a manicure. According to Seventeen, a simple, opaque polish can protect your nails from sun damage. What's more, UVA sun exposure can affect your nails by turning them yellow. Yuck!
If you're still not sure why this all is, here's what you need to know: Nails are made of keratin, or protein, just like the rest of your skin. So like your skin, they can "tan" or turn a gross yellow color, or more dramatically burn and bruise. Too much sun on your nails can also change their texture, creating ridges that could take up to six months to grow out. Not to mention, it can damage your cuticles and create more opportunity for fungal and bacterial infections.
Most polishes are made with UV absorbers, but finding an extra-sun safe top coat is easy. There are tons on the market!
Essie Sun E, $4, nailsupplies.us
At the very least, keep your nails covered with your favorite polish this summer to avoid burns and damage.