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Summertime Tips for Protecting Your Skin

Updated on July 14, 2014

We Love the Sun

The sun is not only an inevitable part of our being but for most of us its unavoidable, extremely comforting and enjoyable. The sun sustains life on our planet. But like everything else when we don't educate ourselves about abusive dangers it can also cause a few health issues. That's why daily use of a broad-spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen (SPF 30+ for extended stays outdoors), applied liberally, must be a key part of any comprehensive sun protection program. The wise will seek shade especially from 10 AM to 2 PM, avoiding sunburn and covering up with clothing, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Sunscreen- It's Not Just for the Beach

Remember to slather on the sunscreen before you go outside. Even if you're not lounging at the pool or on the beach your skin is exposed to harmful rays if you are spending time outdoors. It's cumulative damage that increases your risk of skin cancer as well as wrinkles...five minutes here or there adds up.

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UVA and UVB Rays

Make sure your sunscreen is broad spectrum which means it protects against UVA or ultraviolet radiation waves and short waves or UVB rays. Ultraviolet radiation is actually composed of three wavelengths: UVA, UVB and UVC. While UVC isn't a concern for skin cancer, UVA and UVB play different roles when it comes to tanning, burning, and photoaging. Sunscreen is classified with a SPF or Sun Protection Factor rating.The most important issue to understand about an SPF rating is that it indicates relative protection. In order to get adequate protection against both UVA and UVB, you should select a sunscreen that provides multispectrum protection, broad-spectrum protection or UVA/UVB protection or not just a sunscreen with a high SPF (UVB) rating. Additionally, the label should list a FDA-recognized long wavelength UVA sunscreen, such as avobenzone or zinc oxide.

Why Skin Protection Matters-Skin Cancer

Long term exposure to the suns damaging rays can cause skin cancer but you can stop it in its tracks by examining and protecting your skin. Check your skin and especially moles for these warning signs. Remember ABCDE and U. If any of these describe one of your moles or spots see a doctor ASAP.

A Asymmetry- one half of the mole doesn't resemble the other half

B Borders- the border of the spot is irregular, blurry or notched

C Color-the spot consists of one or more colors or shades

D Diameter- the mole or freckle is bigger than the size of a pencil eraser

E Evolving- a changing mole may be growing, altering its shape or color

U Ugly duckling-the mole looks different from the others

Hawaiian Tropic? Ban de Solei?

Some of us may have memories of watching our parents or older siblings generously apply only a layer of baby oil or (believe it or not) Crisco cooking grease to ensure a proper golden tan. Those days are gone forever. You won't find any products claiming to be just" suntan lotions" anymore. Instead, a product that is considered to be a suntan lotion is now a sunscreen with an SPF of less than 15. These 'tanning' sunscreens, which typically have an SPF 4 to SPF 8, do not provide enough sun protection, especially for kids.


Lay it On Me-Apply and Reapply

Being stingy with the sunscreen is a no no! Experts recommend you use about an ounce of sunscreen per application for your entire body. When you don't apply enough you're simply not protected. Don't forget your neck and the back of your hands. These are two areas of the body that show aging the fastest.

And remember to reapply at least every two to three hours or even more if you are in and out of the water. Even water resistant sunscreen formulas typically only last forty minutes. Going for a run or playing volleyball? Reapply after sweating. Perspiration dilutes protection.

There is no need to throw away last year's left-over sunscreens. Shelf life is generally two or three years. Most sunscreens on the market now have an expiration date stamped on the container. Always store your sunscreen in a cool place, since heat can gradually break it down.

Sunlight and Vitamin D

Sunlight encourages the body to make vitamin D. However, due to the skin-cancer risk, there isn't an official recommendation to catch some rays. A small amount of sun exposure without sunscreen can do the trick.

"If you're going to get it from the sun, about 20 to 25 minutes of exposure is helpful," says Stephen Honig, MD, director of the Osteoporosis Center at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, in New York City.

Besides tanning there are alternate ways for the human body to acquire and store it's precious vitamin D reserves. Eat fresh salmon, canned tuna or drink orange juice or fortified soy milk recommend dermatologists.

Vitamin D supplements can help you get your proper daily dose.Too much vitamin D can be toxic so talk to your doctor before choosing a dosage.

We all love the warming rays of the sun kissing our skin in the summertime. It seems like a right of passage to head outdoors on the first official day of summer. But know with the knowledge we have acquired regarding sun exposure we just need to play it safe. As with most things in life -moderation and common sense is key.


TOP SUNSCREENS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Below are a few FDA approved, top rated sunscreens :

A UV clear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of no less than 46, designed by Elta MD, Elta MD is a cream. Elta MD comes with a price of only $23.00 and super light weight. It's oil-free formulation makes it perfect for different skin types and offers a broad-spectrum protection. Easily worn under make-up, you can wear it alone depending on your lifestyle needs. Elta MD UV sunscreen calms and soothes your skin. It's perfect for skin types that are prone to acne.


Neutrogena Age Shield is a facial sunscreen lotion with a broad spectrum and superior sun protection factor. For $12.99, it can resist up to 80 minutes in the water. It shields or protects the skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. The cream is designed to shield up to 6 layers of skin. It is tested and recommended by dermatologists, free of oil and non-greasy.


BurnOut has a sun protection factor of 30. With a price tag of $19.99 it can be used both for the face and the body. Non- greasy and suitable for sensitive skin, this sunscreen comes with a broad spectrum protection against both the UVA and the UVB rays.

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