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Don't Let Fun in the Sun Wreak Havoc On Your Skin

by Carrie B. - June 5 , 2017

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Summertime is almost upon us and that means high temperatures, longer days, and more hours outside under the dangerous UV rays of the sun. From the more extreme dangers like skin cancer, sun poisoning, and sunburn to the esthetically unpleasing sunspots, wrinkles, and dehydrated skin, sun exposure — even on a cloudy day — can truly wreak havoc on your skin.

According to the Sun Safety Alliance, more than 1.2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Likewise, Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation reports, "One in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer, 80-90% of which are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, more than 5,000 of which are melanoma, the mostly deadly form of skin cancer."

Since 1 in 6 Canadians will be diagnosed with skin care, the Canadian Skin Care Foundation has launched its Go Safe Education program that offers online education on how to protect your family from skin cancer.

Here are 6 ways to protect yourself from the sun this summer...

Time Your Fun in the Sun Wisely

Keep in mind that the sun's UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Plan your hikes and runs around those hours. But, when your summertime fun has to happen midday, then be extra diligent about re-applying sunscreen during this time period.

Buy Several Specialized Sunscreens

One sunscreen does not fit all. To fully protect oneself from the sun's damaging rays, you should invest in not one, but three, forms of sunscreen — one for the face, another for the lips, and the third for the body.

"You want a facial sunscreen that feels elegant and is light on the skin that you can wear every day, even as a primer. A heavier sunscreen is great for the body, and the new foam sunscreens cover very well. We even have sunscreens specifically for the lip, ear, and nose because the skin in thinnest there," Harry Fallick, founder of sunscreen manufacturer TIZO Fallene, told Les Nouvelles Esthetique & Spa magazine.

If you're confused about which SPF to buy, it's best to go with the highest you can find and make sure it says "broad spectrum" because that means it protects you against UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B). Here's how it works: SPF 15 protects you against 93% of UVB rays. SPF 30 is 97%, SPF 50 is 98%, and SPF 100 is roughly 99%, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Apply Sunscreen Properly

The general rule is to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before heading outside so that it has time to absorb into your skin, and then re-apply it every two hours. Setting a timer on your phone helps a great deal.

Experts also advise that you apply sunscreen from head to toe before you get dressed — even if you're not going to be in a bathing suit or short-shorts. It helps protect you when wearing lightweight clothing.

To be diligent here, you should keep sunscreen at hour home, in your car, and on your person — either in your purse or beach bag, or you can easily find 1- or 3-ounce travel sizes that fit in any pocket.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

What we put in our bodies during these dehydrating months that we call summer is just as important of what we're putting on it.

Hydration is not just important to keep our mind and body functioning well; it's also the key to a healthy, youthful skin. It's easy to get dehydrated by the heat or from being extra active in the summer. Dehydration can lead to dull looking skin, which makes one look older, as well as the increase of fine lines and wrinkles.

You can hydrate your skin by drinking the recommended 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day, through hydrating and moisturizing sunscreens, and with a facial mist.

Invest In Protective Clothing

When heading outdoors this summer, wear or pack these three essentials: an extra-wide brim hat that shades your face, neck, and part of your shoulders, oversized sunglasses that cover the delicate skin around and under your eyes, and, if you're especially fair-skinned or know you'll be in the hottest midday sun, invest in some UV protective clothing.

You might night find this special sun protective clothing in your favorite boutique, but one click of the mouse on your computer will give you a wide variety of this type of clothing. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends clothing made with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) 50+. This means that a fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun's UV rays to pass through.

Pack an Umbrella

Shade yourself the old-fashioned way with a variety of mini-umbrella. You can buy one with its own stand to be used at your backyard BBQs, and there's the type that sticks in the sand to put over your towel at the beach or blanket at the park.

But, don't forget that even just simply running errands or walking your dog can also cause damage. Try a fashionable parasol that folds up in your purse and shade your face as you're out and about.


is an award-winning journalist and author of three books. She writes about sex/relationships for Men's Health, DAME, and Canadian Pharmacy World.


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