How to Sun-Proof & Age-Proof Your Skin
July 17, 2015
Take a look at this article we found by Andrea Krushinski in Distinction magazine about protecting your skin from sun exposure and also aging skin.
The weather we have been waiting for is finally here - it's summer. Summer means sun, shorts, sandals, bathing suits, and bronzed skin. But along with shorter hemlines comes the dangers that not only prompt the probability of skin cancer, but the aging process as well. Sun exposure is, essentially, subjecting your skin to sun damage - therefore, taking preventative measures in preparing and caring for it are crucial in keeping your skin in tip-top condition for the ultimate skin-baring season.
Sun exposure isn't necessarily bad - it is a key source of Vitamin D. As with all good things, however, keep exposure in moderation. The ideal maximum is 15 minutes before 10 am. or after 2 pm. Anything over is considered overexposure, and any exposure during midday - when the sun as at its harshest - should be limited. Sun rays at this time of day are 10% UVB and 90% UVA: a combination that can cause melanoma, the deadliest form of skin caner. Sunscreen is essential to keep your skin looking young and healthy, but it's far from the only skin-saving measure you should take. Here are some tips to maximize your skin protection while finding a healthy balance of summer exposure.
Apply sunscreen religiously. It's a surefire way of protecting your skin. Always apply sunscreen 20 minutes prior to allow time for the product to absorb into the skin; re-apply every few hours or as needed. Look for sunscreens that offer protection for both UVA and UVB rays - keep in mind that a high SPF number is no longer enough. Even with the best sunscreens, it's easy to under-apply, not reapply often enough, or skip vulnerable spots, like your ears and lips. That's why these additional measures are so important. Following them can help prevent sunburn, skin damage like brown spots and wrinkles, and most important, skin cancer.
Cleanse and Exfoliate
Use a cleanser with salicylic or glycolic acid. Dry, combination and/or sensitive skin should completely avoid this and instead opt for one a cream based soap. Combination/oily to oily skin types are more suitable for cleansers containing one of the two acids. Do note, however, that salicylic acid increases sensitivity to the sun. Save these cleansers for use at nighttime, and moisturize during the day with extra SPF protection. Depending on your skin type, you should exfoliate either 2-3 times a week. Doing so helps rejuvenate skin, leaving it soft and brighter. Exfoliation removes dead, dulling skin debris to prevent congestion and improve hydration from toners and moisturizers. Also, with summer comes open-toed shoes and sandals, so be sure to exfoliate and protect exposed feet as well.
Applying moisturizer with SPF is essential regardless of the season. With the onset of warmer weather, however, consider switching your current moisturizer for another with higher SPF and lighter formulation to prevent sun spots, freckles, and early signs of aging. But most importantly, simply moisturize, period. Summer sun - in combination with the heat, humidity, and air conditioning - can wreak havoc on your skin, Moisturize with SPF before sun, and use a richer lotion after sun, after bath, and before bed to keep skin hydrated, soft, and smooth.
Keep hydrated. Drink water throughout the day. If you're on the go always keep a bottle of water with you to prevent dehydration and heat stroke. Drinking the recommended amount of eight 8-ounce glasses of plain water every day can help maintain critical moisture balance of the body and skin, and assist in detoxification. In the summer, up your regimen's level of skin hydration with intensive masques one to two times a week. Toners are a good moisturizer prep, working to even out skin porosity and you can refresh with a revitalizing toner spritz at the office, in the car, at the gym and even on the plane!
Dress the Part
Classic summer clothes - like a white tank top and shorts provide little in the way of sun protection. Wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants offer the best protection from the sun's burning rays. Although, this might not be your first choice on those sweltering days so look to protect in other ways. The better sun-blocking option is clothing made of dark, tightly woven fabric. Also, consider donning a hat - seeing that one-third of all skin cancers occur above the neck, you can literally save face by topping off your sun-safe attire with a hat. In this case, the bigger the better.
Of course it feels good to soak up the sun's golden rays, but seeking out shade can really protect your skin. Though sitting in the shade doesn't eliminate UV exposure, it can cut its effects by 60 percent. Schedule outdoor workouts for early in the day or late afternoon, and take frequent shade breaks when you're at the beach, park, or barbecues in the middle of the day.
Protect Your Peepers
Reduce your risk of serious eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration by wearing close fitting UV blocking sunglasses labeled "100 percent UV protection". Fortunately, today's trendy oversized sunglasses not only protect the eyes but protect the delicate skin around your eyes.
Healthy Foods, Healthy Skin
While a salad is no substitute for sunblock certain healthy foods could add inner protection against sunburn and wrinkles at the cellular level. Studies say that citrus foods containing limonene and certain red, yellow, and orange foods - particularly tomatoes, red apples and carrots - help keep your skin from, well, turning red. Not only can daily lycopene and carotenoids help reduce sunburn intensity, it produces more skin-firming collagen to boot. Boost your block by eating foods containing antioxidants that stop damage to skin cells. Studies show drinking caffeinated beverages also provides UV protection.
Protect Yourself Year Round
Sun protection shouldn't stop at the end of summer. Even if you haven't been sun savvy in the past, it's never too late to start protecting your skin. The skin is the body's largest organ, so it just makes sense to take simple steps to protect it.
Reference: Krushinski, A. (n.d.). How to Sun-Proof and Age-Proof Your Skin. Distinction.