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How should I protect my skin from the sun?

Protecting your skin from the sun means using a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 sunscreen when you are outside. Use sunscreen on your face every day, even on days you don't plan to leave the house or office and even on days the sun doesn't shine. That's because you're still exposed to damaging ultraviolet rays through windows and clouds. Thankfully, today it's easy enough to ensure sunscreen coverage, because many moisturizers and even liquid and powder makeup contain sunscreen.

When you are in the sun, slather on the sunscreen. You should use enough to fill a shot glass each time you apply it. And wear a broad-brimmed hat; those baseball caps might be cute, but they're not doing much to keep the sun off your ears and the back of your neck.
There are many ways to protect your skin from the sun. One of the primary ways is to avoid going into direct sunlight by seeking out shaded areas when you will be in ln area exposed to the sun. If this is not a valid option, clothing that blocks the sun is also effective. Use of big hats that shade the face, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and protection for feet and even hands are all viable options. At times when clothing is impractical, such as while swimming, a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 with both UVA and UVB protection is an appropriate option. Depending on the activity, swimming or excessive sweating, frequent reapplications will be necessary.
Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics

With all the fun summer activities from which to choose, it can be difficult to protect your skin from the sun. Start by avoiding peak sun hours, if possible. The sun strength is greatest in the hours just before and just after noon. In addition, use loose fitting clothes to cover your skin and if your skin is showing, use a sunscreen with spf 30 or greater. Shade and umbrellas can also be a big help.

Always seek shade. It reduces UV by 50 to 95 percent. Sit under a tree or beach umbrella, walk on the shady side of the street, and park yourself on the protected side of a train, bus, or car for midday rides (glass doesn’t block UVA). You may also want to check out UV protection shields for cars (3M Company makes them) if you are a frequent commuter during daylight hours. Avoidance is your number one tactic, especially between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon, and near reflective surfaces (sand, water, snow). Even when it’s overcast, 80 percent of UV light zips right through clouds.

Cover your body. I know what you’re thinking: Who in their right mind wears a lot of clothes at the pool? Or on a hike? Be creative. At the seashore, when you’re not in the water, wrap a sarong or beach towel around your lower half, pull on a T-shirt, plop on a wide-brimmed hat, and wear your sunglasses (they’re nonnegotiable; you can burn your corneas, and who wants crow’s feet?). For sports, invest in a few pieces of lightweight clothing specially made with an ultraviolet protection factor, or UPF. A UPF of 50 means only one-fiftieth of the sun’s UV rays pass through it. Or use a laundry product with TinosorbFD to increase the UPF of your clothes; it’ll last through repeated washings.

Think one teaspoon, two shot glasses. Sunscreen only works if you use enough of it. Before you head outdoors, smooth one teaspoon’s worth of broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on your face and apply at least three ounces -- two shot glasses full -- of sunscreen to your body. On beach days, I usually slather on sunscreen when I’m naked to make sure I’m totally covered before I slip into a bathing suit. And don’t forget your ears, neck, backs of hands, feet, and lips (use at least an SPF 30 lip balm). P.S. There is no such thing as a base tan that protects you from further sun damage. A base tan can prevent burning because it’s your skin’s defense mechanism against burning, but you’ll still suffer damage.

Set your cellphone alarm. Set it to ring two to three hours later, and reapply sunscreen when it goes off. Whenever you come out of the pool or off the volleyball court, reapply even if you put on sweatproof or water-resistant sunscreen.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.