Sun exposure helps the body to synthesize vitamin D, but too much sun can be counterproductive. Scientists have linked sun damage to various skin problems ranging from wrinkles and fine lines to jowls, fupa, dark spots, and cancer. People who have also suffered from hell’s itch will tell you that it is no fun at all. So, how can you protect your skin from getting damaged by the sun? Here are 10 easy tips.
Wear Sunscreen Daily
Do you wear sunscreen to the beach? If you do, good job. But do you slather sunscreen every time you have to undertake some activities outdoors? Like most people, you probably don’t. This is in spite of the fact that 80 percent of sun damage in human beings is incidental – occurs during normal activities that involve being out in the sun as opposed to hitting it to the beach – as The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) says.
Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This helps to not only protect your skin against the UVB rays that cause skin cancer and sunburn, but also the UVA rays which are majorly responsible for wrinkles and premature aging. The sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 at the very least. With an SPF 46, EltaMD is an excellent choice. Here are some sunscreen best practices:
- When going out in the sun, apply the sunscreen 15 minutes earlier.
- Reapply every 2 hours and every 1 hour if you are swimming.
- Check the expiry date.
- Protect your lips as well by applying a lip balm or lip gloss that offers sun protection.
Time Your Outdoor Activities Well
The sun is most damaging to the skin between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. whenever possible, time your outdoor activities to early morning and later afternoon.
Choose Appropriate Clothing
Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will do a better job of protecting your body against the UV rays that cause sunburn and other problems. You will also want to wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face and neck.
You can take the protection a notch higher by getting yourself a UPF shirt. These shirts are made of a unique fabric that helps to block the sun’s UV rays. Look for one with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 40 or more. This will shield about 98 percent of UV rays. Vapor Apparel has a line of UPF shirts for both men and women.
Protect your eyes
Your eyes are just as prone to sun damage as the rest of your body and should thus not be ignored when out in the sun. Sun damage is linked to problems such as pterygium (surfer’s eyes) and cataracts. People with light-colored eyes are especially vulnerable to sun-induced eye damage. You should protect your eyes with sunglasses that offer 99% to 100% UV protection. I love the ones from Eye Love.
Be Aware of Reflective Surfaces
Water, sand, and snow share one thing in common: they are good reflectors of sun rays. Being near such surfaces increases your risk of UV damage. This is the reason why people tend to get sunburns more readily while at the beach as well as skiing. If you have to be around these reflective surface, slather on generous amounts of sunscreen and cover your head.
Limit Sun Exposure
If possible, you should limit the time you spend in the sun. If you cannot limit the time you are outside, consider staying in the shade. An umbrella will come in handy for the purpose. If you have a heated swimming pool, you could take your dips after the sun has set.
Eat More UV Protective Foods
According to Dr. KellyAnn Petrucci, a weight loss and anti-aging specialist based in Switzerland, eating the right food can help to prevent sun damage. You will want to take lots of foods that are loaded with:
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants can help to prevent UV damage and thus protect against cancer. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are excellent choices for antioxidants.
- Omega 3 fatty acids – Omega 3 helps to protect against free radicals responsible for early aging, and can also help to protect against certain forms of skin cancer. Omega is found abundantly in fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerels, but you can as well get omega 3 in the form fish oil.
- Orange and red vegetables and fruits – lycopene and carotene can also help to protect the skin against sun damage. Oranges, carrots, tomatoes, and red peppers are excellent sources.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea is rich in polyphenols which makes it not only great for optimal brain performance and fat burning, but also an excellent anti-cancer agent.
Tanning beds and sun lamps emit the same UV radiation as the sun and can be just as harmful. If you cannot resist the urge to fake tan, you are as much at risk of cancer as any cigarette smoker.
Apply Vitamin E
If you have to work outdoors for long periods of time, applying some vitamin E to your skin can offer some level of protection.