All this month, we will be discussing topics that relate to summer activities. As “summer activities” are primarily outside, I just wanted to remind you again to practice Sun Safe practices! I will try & keep this post brief because we spent most of this past May letting you know why protecting your skin from the sun is so important, but I did want to run over just a few brief points that are important for any and all outdoor activities.
Why protect your skin?
*Skin Cancer: 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US. The deadliest form is melanoma, of which one person per hour dies (in the US alone!).
*Premature Skin Aging: sun damage is largely responsible for skin aging. Brown spots & age spots? Yes, the sun. Wrinkles? Yep, those too. Wrinkles would come naturally, true, but the UV rays start damaging those skin cells and so it accelerates the loss of volume and collagen. A recent study found that people who used sunscreen daily looked 24% younger. Just a thought…
How do I protect my skin?
*Sunscreen – look for broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, water resistant if you will be going to the beach/pool or sweating a lot. Apply 15-20 minutes before going out into the sun, but if you forget, better late than never. Reapply every 2 hours, or as directed on the bottle. How should you pick a sunscreen? First of all, the best sunscreen for you is one you will use! Also, US News & World Report has a great article about what to look for in a sunscreen: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/06/18/whats-the-best-sunscreen-for-you
*Physical Block – hats, clothing, sunglasses, etc. Physical blocks can actually better protection from the sun, but realistically we know that no one is going around in the summer in long-sleeve black shirts & jeans with closed-toe shoes. Keep in mind that a light white linen shirt offers very little protection. Tightly woven fabrics, esp. in dark colors offer the most protection (hence why I put sunscreen #1!)
*Stay in the shade – You can still enjoy the natural sunlight & ocean breeze under an umbrella.
*Load up on antioxidants. Antioxidant rich foods, including berries & green tea (see our last blog post for a few fruit & veggie options) help fight against skin damage, including UV damage. It may also help you to apply a skin care product containing antioxidants, such as our Triple Antioxidant Serum, prior to applying your sunscreen in order to boost your sun protection. [[PLEASE NOTE: This is not instead of sunscreen, but rather in addition to sunscreen]]
A few final notes:
*Please avoid the tanning beds. The World Health Organization has labeled tanning beds as carcinogenic, along with other known cancer-causing things such as tobacco. Just 2 months ago, the FDA implemented a new policy requiring tanning beds to have those same black health warnings too. Tanning beds greatly increase the chances of getting skin cancer. We are seeing younger & younger skin cancer patients largely because of tanning, so please protect your skin!
*The idea of a “base tan” protecting your skin is a myth. It may help guard against sun burns, but not against skin cancer or premature skin aging.
*Be Sun Safe -- one of our May blog posts
*Do you keep forgetting to put on your sunscreen in the morning? Try putting it by other things that you use every morning. For example, by the TV remote (which I use for morning news)