We’ve all heard about the dangers of UV rays and the links between sun exposure and skin cancer. If the health risks aren’t enough to scare you into slathering on the sunscreen this summer, maybe vanity will tempt you. Overexposure to sun and tanning lights breaks down the natural elasticity and collagen in your skin leaving you more prone to wrinkles, freckling and leathery texture down the road.
But it’s summer! And we know you need to get outdoors and enjoy the fabulous weather. So what to do? Make sure you cover up as much as possible, use plenty of sunscreen and protect your skin all summer long. Here are some tips:
1. Shop Smart: Not all sunscreens are created equal. With very little regulation from the FDA, it’s difficult to know if the bottle you just bought is going to do what it claims to do. Luckily, the Environmental Working Group is on the case. This nonprofit watchdog just released its 2012 Sunscreen Guide, which lists the best sunscreens according to stringent guidelines — only 25 percent of sunscreens on the market made the cut!
2. Spray Away. It can be tricky to cover all your exposed skin when you’re wearing a bathing suit, especially those hard-to-reach patches on the shoulders and middle back. If you can’t enlist a friend to help, make life easy for yourself and invest in aerosolized sunscreen. Lotions still provide the best protection, but sprays are a handy backup for your, well, back.
3. Go From Top to Bottom. Some of my most uncomfortable sunburns were right on the top of my head. Even when you’ve slathered up your arms, legs and face, it’s easy to forget that line of delicate skin that shows through your hair part. Make sure you protect yourself with a hat or a spritz of sunscreen. While you’re at it, coat the tops of your feet to avoid a flip-flop burn!
4. Cheat! Buy makeup and moisturizers that already have an SPF value. Even using low-grade SPF 15 foundation will protect your face from the sun’s harmful rays. This is especially important when you’re not thinking about your sun exposure – even if you’re not spending the whole day lounging at the beach or pool, you’re still soaking up sun every time you got outside. Making sure you have a protective base layer is a no-brainer.
6. Pucker Up: Don’t forget your lips when you’re layering on sunscreen. Most lip cancers originate from the parts most exposed to sunlight. A quick swipe of sunscreen will do in a pinch, but to avoid an unpleasant taste and take special care of your mouth, invest in lip balm with SPF. You’ll protect your health and keeping your pout soft, smooth and kissable!
So, go to it! Get outside this summer and keep your skin healthy and beautiful with the help of lots of sunscreen.