Although some of the highlights of summer are bronzed skin, bathing suits, beach hair and enjoying the sunny weather, responsible sun exposure is essential to a healthy experience. Sun exposure can lead to dreaded skin aging and even worse, the dangers of skin cancer, so be safe as you spend time outside in the sun by following some simple procedures which will ensure your skin is in great shape for the upcoming season.
An astonishing 90% of wrinkles are caused by the sun, not to mention signs of aging including uneven pigmentation, freckles and sunspots (age spots). We all know sunbathing and tanning are damaging to the skin, yet two-thirds of all sun damage happens while completing routine tasks such as walking the dog or driving. As a result, sunscreen needs to be applied daily, no matter where you’re headed. Seek out body lotions and moisturizers with SPF and always go for a higher SPF on your face. Check out more ways to protect your skin:
- 20 minutes prior to sun exposure, apply adequate sunscreen and reapply often (every couple of hours or more frequently if needed).
- Apply sunscreen in private, where you can get complete coverage in the nude. Most bathing suits don’t provide any sun protection and you won’t end up with any strange tan or burn lines.
- Only use sunscreens that are labeled to protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
- The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 2pm, so try to stay out of the sun at those times if you can.
- Keep your eyes, lips, hands and feet protected with specially formulated products containing SPF for these body parts, and try spray sunscreen for the scalp.
- If you still crave bronzed skin, get a professional spray tan or a sunless tanner you can use at home.
- Reveal younger, brighter looking skin by exfoliating any dead cells and previous sun damage away 1-3 times a week.
- Wear clothing and cover-ups made out of breezy cotton and don a brimmed hat to protect your face and scalp from the sun’s rays.
Regardless of how you ended up with a sunburn, the damage is already done, so make sure you learn from your mistake by being more careful from here on out. The sooner you start treating a sunburn the better off you’ll be, so try these ideas for a quicker recovery:
- Cool your skin immediately with a brief dip in the ocean or pool, a cool shower or bath, or a cool compress. If you pat skin mostly dry and stay out of the sun, you should feel a rapid difference.
- Keep skin hydrated by applying a moisturizer with aloe vera or soy to damp skin.
- To lessen discomfort, redness and swelling, take an anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen at the first sign of a burn.
- Create a cooling mask by smoothing plain yogurt (which contains soothing lactic acid) on your burn and letting it remain for 30 minutes, then rinse in a cool shower and pat dry.
- Due to the dehydrating effects of a sunburn, you should increase your consumption of water and sports drinks to help restore electrolytes.
- If you are feeling dizzy or off-balance, notice severe blistering or have a fever or chills, you should consult a doctor. To prevent infection, don’t pop or scratch blisters.