Sun exposure is responsible for about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers. This life-threatening disease can affect anyone, regardless of age. The best way to protect your skin is to limit your exposure to UV radiation.
Even though most Americans realize the risks of sun exposure, only a few use protection. Statistics show that as little as 30 percent of U.S. women and 14 percent of men apply sunscreen regularly.
Spending long hours in the sun not only increases cancer risk but also speeds up aging. Deep wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin are common side effects. Having more than five sunburns doubles your risk of developing melanoma.
Take the steps needed to protect your skin. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start with these tips for body and face sun protection:
Use Quality Sunscreen
Apply sunscreen on your body every day, even when it’s cold outside. Choose a quality formula with an SPF of 30+ and “broad spectrum” protection.
Products labeled “broad spectrum” or “full-spectrum” protect against skin aging, melanoma, and sunburn. If this label is missing, you’ll only be protected against sunburn, not skin cancer.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
A good way to protect your skin from the sun is to dress appropriately. While it may be tempting to put on a tank top and shorts, that’s a recipe for disaster.
Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are your best defense against sunburn. Complete your look with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Navy blue, red, and dark colors absorb more UV rays than light colors do. That’s why people who live in hot climates wear mostly white.
Another option is to purchase clothes with built-in sun protection. These have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50 or more. A basic white T-shirt, by comparison, has a UPF of 5.
Sit under a tree or a rotating cantilever umbrella when the sun is brightest, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. This will limit your exposure to harmful UV rays and protect your skin.
Most beaches have terraces and bars where you can relax and enjoy the surrounding. You can still get a beautiful tan early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Take beta-carotene or eat foods containing this nutrient to accelerate tanning without the need to spend long hours in the sun. Beta-carotene, vitamin A, and antioxidant supplements protect your skin from UV radiation and oxidative damage.
Wear UV-Blocking Sunglasses
Your eyes need just as much protection as your skin. Prolonged sun exposure may increase your risk of cataracts, pterygium (growths on the eye), and vision problems.
Ideally, wear sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV rays. These models are typically labeled “Meets ANSI UV Requirements” or “UV absorption up to 400 nm.”
Expensive sunglasses don’t necessarily offer complete protection. Just because they look cool, it doesn’t they block UV rays.
Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin
Certain foods may improve your skin’s natural defenses and offset the harmful effects of UV radiation.
Salmon, for instance, is rich in vitamin E and omega-3s. These nutrients scavenge free radical damage, fight inflammation, and ward off cancer.
Brightly colored fruits and veggies, such as red bell peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes, boast potent antioxidants that protect your skin against the sun rays.
Another great choice is dark chocolate, which supplies large doses of flavonoids. These antioxidants increase blood and oxygen flow to your skin, keeping it supple and firm.
Body and Face Sun Protection Made Easy
As you see, it’s no need to use fancy creams for body and face sun protection. Simple preventive measures, such as wearing appropriate clothing and applying sunscreen all over, can go a long way toward skin health.
Beware that tanning beds are just as harmful as sun exposure. There is no such thing as a safe tan. The better you take of your skin, the longer you’ll maintain its youthful appearance.
For helpful tips to live a long, healthy life, check out our other blog posts. We’ll show you how to keep fit, what to eat for a full body detox, and more!