by Tracey Pollack
While the warmth of the sun feels good, its aging and harmful UV rays can really make you burning mad once you learn what they do to your skin. From causing lines, wrinkles and age spots, to increasing your risk of skin cancer, exposing bare skin to the sun just isn’t a bright idea. But days on the beach, summers at the lake and afternoons by the pool are far from the only times that your skin needs sun protection. See, your skin is often exposed to the sun all throughout the day. But there’s no need to avoid the sun altogether. All you need is the proper protection. While everyone needs to be careful in the sun, it’s especially important for people with darker skin since they’re more susceptible to skin cancer. Now, the burning question: which skin-saving strategies are best? Discover the smartest ways to protect your skin under the sun.
- Make Sun Protection a Natural Choice
Experts agree that sunscreen is a must, whether sunny, cloudy, rainy or even snowy. But with so many sunscreens available, it can be hard to screen the safe from the sorry choices all on your own. To make it easy, look at their labels. Many have long lists of chemicals and preservatives that can irritate your skin, as well as the environment. For a chemical-free and eco-friendly alternative, consider a natural sunscreen. You’ll find a range of packaged natural sunscreens in many stores or try making your own at home with mineral zinc oxide and natural oils with SPF properties to naturally suit your needs.
- Head for Wide-Brimmed Hats
Damaging UV rays may be the last thing on your mind when strolling through an open market or just walking to get the mail. But any time that your skin will be exposed to the sun, the first thing to grab is a hat. Select a hat with at least a two- or three-inch brim all around to protect those sensitive spots, such as your ears, nose, eyes, forehead and scalp. And keep in mind that straw hats are much less protective than ones made of tightly-woven fabric.
- Take Time to Take Precautions
It’s time to take the sun seriously by limiting your exposure to direct sunlight at certain times of the day. Avoid being outdoors between 10 am and 4 pm, when UV rays are at their strongest. How can you tell? Stand in the sun and if your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun is at its strongest and you need to be protected. While UV rays often strengthen in the spring just as the weather gets warmer, they can still damage your skin when it’s colder outside. So no matter what time of year or temperature, you need to smart in the sun.
- Dress to Protect
Whenever you’re out in the sun, clothing provides an extra layer of UV protection. Cover your bases by selecting long-sleeved shirts, long skirts or long pants that cover more of your skin. Reach for darker colors since they protect better than lighter shades, as well as tightly-woven fabrics rather than loosely-sown materials. Today, many companies produce lightweight clothing that’s been made with UV protection, so seek out those safer styles. Finish your look with a pair of large-framed or wraparound sunglasses that filter UV rays to protect both your eyes and the delicate skin around them.
Now that you’ve seen the light about the importance of sun protection, use these skin-saving tips to warmly embrace your time in the sun.