Healthy skin tip #3: Shield from the sun!
Sunshine is awesome – it lightens the mood and (in moderation) helps your body produce vitamin D.
But as with almost any good thing, you can get too much sunshine. And that's not good for your skin.
UV rays from the sun are a form of radiation. Sunburn is thing that should give us a clear sign our skin doesn't handle overexposure very well. But smaller amounts of UV exposure over the long-term also add up. UV radiation weakens the skin's immune system, which can contribute to the development of melanoma and other types of skin cancer.
And in terms of appearance, UV rays gradually damage the elastin and collagen in our skin. Healthy elastin fibers provide skin with both its firmness and its ability to stretch. More sun equals more wrinkles and fine lines.
So – manage your sun exposure!
- Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen. An SPF rating of 15 or higher is what the U.S. FDA recommends. (Broad-spectrum protects against both UVA and UVB rays.) Lip balm with SPF protection is also important.
- Avoid the direct mid-day sun, when it's at its strongest.
- Be aware that winter sun is just as damaging as summer sun.
- Of course a hat with a brim can help shield your face as well.
Here's some additional information about sunshine and skin health:
- A WebMD article on sun exposure and skin cancer (remember, we like WebMD articles because they are doctor-reviewed prior to publication).
- This PDF is a little on the dry side (it's an academic paper) but it gives photos and results of a study of identical twins and the factors that made one look older than the other. Sun exposure and smoking, among other things, have amazing effects.