Ladies, we all love to be tan. But at this point in medical history, it’s no longer a secret that over-exposure to the sun can be extremely harmful. The UV rays cause the DNA in the skin’s cells to break apart, and sunburned skin means that the cells and blood vessels have been damaged. Repeated breakage and reparation of skin cells is what eventually causes skin to look leathery, and anyone who has withstood sustained sun exposure over many years will age much, much more quickly than someone who has protected herself. While no one wants their skin – especially the skin on the face – to age more quickly than it should, the sun’s biggest risk is, obviously, skin cancer.
There are some benefits to small amounts of sun exposure, so our favorite hobby of soaking up the rays isn’t totally lost — we just have to cut back. For example, the natural light has a tendency to make people feel happier. Being outside often means that the person is being more active, which is always better than sitting indoors watching television. And, of course, sunlight encourages the body to make vitamin D. All these benefits can be reaped with just a small amount of exposure to natural light, though — for the most part, protecting your skin from UV rays is extremely important for your overall health.
Whenever you are going to be outside – whether it’s to walk around a farmer’s market, read under a tree, or lie on the beach – you should be wearing sunscreen on the non-clothed parts of your body. It’s recommended by doctors that wearing sunscreen become a daily habit; you can never have too much of it and it’s always better safe than sorry. Make sure that your sunscreen has an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, but those with fair or sensitive skin should go higher. Anyone who has had abnormalities of the skin, such as skin cancer or benign melanomas, should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
If you’re going to be out in the sun for a long time, it’s never a bad idea to wear a hat. Luckily, women’s hats are in style this season! When worn with shorts or sun dresses, sun hats and fedoras look great and also protect the face. When out exercising, try wearing a sporty visor or baseball cap so that it isn’t distracting but protects your face.
There’s actually no such thing as being tan without having damaged skin, but most women will not likely forgo the sun-kissed look when summer rolls around. It’s always safer to use a self-tanning lotion or spray instead of doing it the old-fashioned way. If you completely cannot be convinced to give up your natural bronze, try this — get your initial tan of the summer, then apply moisturizer daily. Moisturizer stops the skin from flaking and peeling, so the tan will last longer. You won’t need to spend hours in the sun every day to maintain that look – just a few times this summer will do the trick.
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Jess Holmes is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about beauty and wellness.