We all know that sun is bad for your skin by now -- I mean, don't we? Sun is responsible for brown spots, leathery texture, lines, and large pores. After years of exposure you risk developing skin cancer -- and I don't mean just the ones like basal cell that are often curable but also the really serious melanoma kind. After the long winter we are all ready to get outside and enjoy the warmth. Here are 10 ways to make it easy to protect your skin and still enjoy the active outside lifestyle.
1) Get a hat. No, not a baseball cap -- one with a brim. It will cover your head and neck and keep you cooler than exposing your head. Try Tilley hats available online and in lots of outdoor stores.
2) SPF clothing -- cool activewear made of SPF 50 fabric -- has finally become widely available. Regular clothing does not provide high enough protection. Clothes made from SPF fabric can help you stay outdoors and even in the water all day without worrying about reapplying sunscreen. You can find SPF clothing at many outdoor stores such as REI, Athleta, Gap as well as specialty retailers such as Mott50, Coolibar and Sun Precautions. There are many options for kids, teens and adults.
3) Wear a rash guard when doing water sports. Surfers have been doing this for years -- it just makes sense to cover up your exposed parts when lying on a board in the middle of a large reflective surface
4) Don't lie out on a blanket in the sun covered with oil. Just don't. Thats so '60s. You might as well just wear mom jeans.
5) Bring an umbrella to the beach. Lie under it. If you are a lifeguard, insist on some shade.
6) If you really really must be brown in the summer, treat yourself to an awesome spray tan. Just don't expect it to allow you to lie out in the sun. See number four.
7) Go running in the morning or at sunset. Ditto for other outside sports. It's prettier then, and if you get up early you will get more done during the day. And it's not as hot.
8) Watch out for medicines that can make you sun-sensitive. If you take doxycycline for acne you can burn much faster in the sun. When in doubt, ask your doctor.
9) Take vitamin D3 supplements. This is the form of the vitamin that your body needs. The vitamin D4 in your body is converted to the active form D3 within just 15 minutes of sun exposure. Also the converted form vitamin D3 is pretty much available anywhere vitamins are sold. So if you are a dedicated sun avoider you can take 1000mg (one little pill) or if you are low on Vitamin D -- 2000mg (two little pills) to build it up. You can ask your doctor to check a vitamin D level to see where you stand.
10) And last but certainly not least: sunscreen for your face and for your body. Facial sunscreens should take into account your particular skin needs as the wrong ones can exacerbate conditions like acne, rosacea and dermatitis. Facial sunscreens can come in many varieties and your dermatologist can recommend ones best for your skin type. The most important two words to look for now are BROAD SPECTRUM. There is so much confusion over the right SPF that it is much better to make sure that you are using a product that covers the entire UV spectrum from A to B. Usually these products are going to be SPF 30 or greater. The safest contain forms of zinc that have been ground down enough (micronized is the key word to look for) to spread over your skin without looking like Casper.
So as you can see, it's insanely easy to protect your skin. Even if you cheat once in a while, you are still cutting out most of your lifetime supply of UV damage. Just do it.