Your skin is your body’s most conspicuous organ and as such, it is essential to take care of it — especially during summer when those tempting UV rays can cause chaos on exposed skin especially over time. Here are some tips on how to care for your skin if you intend to expose it.
1. Why Protect?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lives. The National Eye Institute reports that protracted ultraviolet exposure can also lead to cataracts. Add to that proven premature aging of the skin — wrinkles, dryness, and age spots!
2. How to Protect
Even during cloudy days the best way to protect yourself against harmful rays when you’re outside is to use sun protection.
· Sun Shields
Excessive sun exposure raises the risk of melanoma — the most common and noxious form of cancer. Sunscreens protect against sunburn and skin cancer. Choose one that is water resistant and has an SPF of 15 or higher. Skin damage can happen even without a burn. Check if it only filters UVB light, the major cause of sunburn and skin cancer, as well as UVA, which causes premature aging and skin cancer.
Also, every 2 hours apply a lip balm with an SPF of 15+ against skin and lip cancer. If you use ordinary sunscreen you tend to lick it off. Baby oil, petroleum jelly, or high-shine lip gloss won’t protect as much as darker shades of lipstick with an SPF.
Makeup can also protect you, but cosmetics alone don’t do the entire job. Opt for darker foundations, mineral makeup, powders, and eye shadows especially with a broad-spectrum SPF. For guaranteed protection apply over sunscreen.
A broad brimmed hat goes without saying — baseball caps leave your ears exposed. There is also beach wear with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. Clothes made from high-luster polyesters, unbleached cotton, and satiny silk; as well as those that are dark, tight-weaved or knitted, can also absorb UV light.
Good news — oversized sunglasses that cover more eye are back for women as are larger aviator styles for men. The more eye covered, the lower the intensity of light reaching the back of the eye. Just as the sun can burn skin, protracted UV exposure can redden the whites of eyes. This can cause problems like macular degeneration andcataracts. To prevent eye damage, choose impact-resistant, gray or brown sunglasses with a UV 400 protection.
3. Protecting the Young
Kids are more susceptible to the ravages of the sun. According to the AAD, children get 80% of their total lifetime sun exposure by the time they turn 18. If a blistering sunburn is a part of that childhood, the risk of deadly skin cancer doubles later in life.
Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Make kids use protective clothing, lip protection, and sunscreen. Babies under 6 months should be kept out of the sun full stop. If they are outdoors, dress them in protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Ask your pediatrician before using sunscreen on an infant, as these products haven’t yet been tested on them.
Teenagers who spend a lot of time working and/or playing outdoors are at special risk for sun damage. The basics of sun protection apply to this group too.
Sun worshippers or tanning booth aficionados should go for sunless tanning products. These streak-proof products come in everything from creams to lotions, gels and sprays — just make sure they also protect against sunburn. Test them first on a small area — some can turn your skin that awful orange hue. Also, tanning pills are not approved by the FDA and may cause eye discoloration.
Now you can pack your beach bag with confidence!