Sunlight is a major cause of skin aging, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). We all know a sunburn is obvious skin damage. But, did you know that short, repeated exposure to the sun (also called chronic sun exposure) is a major cause of skin damage too.
With your beauty in mind here are some simple but effective suggestions:
Sun Precaution #1 - As a daily routine, apply sunscreen and wear a sun hat. On a big beach day or playing 3 hours of golf. I am sure you are slathered up with sunscreen and wearing your sun protective clothing. What we are talking about here is protecting against the chronic doses of sun you get from doing things like stopping to pick flowers, walking from your car to the office or driving. Remember sun damage accumulates over time and lessens the elasticity of your skin.
Vitamin D - It is impossible to write about sun protection without talking about Vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important to your good health but the amount of sun exposure is unclear at this time. If you are not an outdoor person, your only exposure to UVB rays (UVB generates Vitamin D, not UVA) may be short stints under the mid-day sun. Be sure to consult with your physician about the proper amount of sun for your body. According to the EPA: Get vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin D. Don't seek the sun.
Sun Precaution #2 - Not every sun hat is equal. Choose a sun hat with a brim of 4" or greater that also has a brim that slants downward. A downward angled brim will surround you face giving you protection for more hours of the day. And, do not even think of wearing a baseball cap. A baseball cap basically shades the forehead and that's all!
Sun Precaution #3 -Don't be fooled into thinking a base tan protects you from additional sun damage. According to the FDA, there is no such thing as a safe tan. A tan is your melanin pigment migrating to the basal layer of your skin to protect your DNA.
Sun Precaution #4 - Keep protected from the sun all year round. Both UVA and UVB contribute to premature aging. In the winter months UVB lessens but the harmful UVA rays are in full force year round.
Sun Precaution #5 - Beware of sneaky reflective rays. UV rays can reflect off of cars, the asphalt, water and other surfaces that "bounce" up and reach your face and neck. Wearing your daily dose of sunscreen will help with these harmful sneak attacks. If you are going to be on the snow or water all day or doing road work, you may want to consider wearing a UV protective Sun Mask.
Sun Precaution #6 - Make sunscreen the first layer of your makeup regimen. Dr. Martin, a prominent San Diego dermatologist, recommends using sunscreen, both zinc/titanium (also called mineral sunscreen) and chemical based sunscreen as the first layer of your makeup regimen. Next apply moisturizer, foundation, powder, blush and any other colored cosmetics. Some experts feel a sunscreen using zinc or titanium should be applied after all makeup has been applied since that formula reflects the sun rays. Dr. Martin believes the makeup layers over the zinc/titanium sunscreen only enhance the UV protection. Additionally, many high SPF mineral sunscreens also include chemical ingredients in their formulas to reach those high SPF ratings. You may want to consider a facial moisturizer with SPF... also a good time saver. (Note: If you are using medication, please consult your doctor to know when to apply)
Sun Precaution #7 - Don't forget to apply sunscreen to the back of your neck if your neck is exposed to the sun. Sun-weakened skin becomes lax and the condition of the skin on the back of your neck will affects the more visible front of the neck.
Sun Precaution #8 - Avoid tanning booths. No matter what they say, sitting under a device that emits UV light is going to have a harmful affect on your skin. Dr. Martin says that he has seen patients in their 20's that have the skin of a 50 year because of tanning booths. So pleeeeease don't do it.
Sun Precaution #9 - Be extra careful when you are in higher altitudes. You would be amazed how fast you get sun damage when there is less atmosphere to filter out harmful UV rays.
Sun Precaution #10 - Regular dermatology and self examinations are important. - Many skin cancers, all though not life threatening, can be very disfiguring if they need to be surgically removed. Catch the culprits before they become a problem.
Don't grow old before your time? Make being sun safe a way of life and enjoy your outdoor life looking good.
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