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Ways to Keep Your Skin Safe

Ways to Keep Your Skin Safe

Many Americans are failing to protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun.

Tom Brady may be the winningest QB in NFL history (207 wins over 19 years) but that doesn’t make him infallible. In his 2017 audaciously-titled book, The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance, he drops the ball when it comes to understanding how to prevent sunburn and the enormous importance of doing so correctly. His claim: He avoids sunburn by drinking 2.5 gallons of water a day—and it keeps his skin from peeling. Not one drop of science there.

Unfortunately, half of all Americans are as careless as he is about protecting themselves from sun damage. A study featured in JAMA Dermatology found 34 percent of the 31,000+ people surveyed had been sunburned in 2015—the most at risk used self-tanners, did outdoor aerobics, were obese and were binge drinkers. And a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found only 14.3 percent of men and 29.9 percent of women regularly use sunscreen on exposed skin and face when out in the sun for an hour or more.

Your smart steps: Use micronized zinc oxide only. No coral-killing, hormone disrupting ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, avobenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule, which a JAMA study found are absorbed through the skin at levels that may be harmful. Choose an SPF of 30 or higher; re-apply regularly. Wear sun-protective clothing; a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 50 allows less than two percent of UV rays to come through the clothing. Stay safe out there: Protect your skin.

Medically reviewed in April 2020.

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