Exposure to ultraviolet light, UVA or UVB, from sunlight accounts for ninety percent of the symptoms of premature skin aging. Ninety percent! Further, exposure to UVAs and UVBs can also lead to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer – rates of which have dramatically increased over the past 30 years. Given this, it is extremely important to protect yourself from the sun; it is the first and most critical step in taking care of your skin as you age.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the look of that perfect sun-kissed glow – but I always put my skin health first. Below is a list of what I call “the Seven Sun Sins,” the most critical sun mistakes and how to avoid them.
Sin #1: Not applying sunscreen on cloudy or cool days. Don’t be fooled! Clouds may block infrared light (i.e. the feeling of heat), but they only block 20% of UVA and UVB light. This means that sun protection is just as critical on cloudy days as it is on sunny days. Make sun protection a part of your daily routine.
Sin #2: Not reapplying sun protection every two hours. Sunscreen only lasts about two hours after application and needs to be reapplied in sufficient quantities throughout the day (about the size of a quarter onto the hand). We recommend using Day 25 Cream or Day Glow first thing in the morning and taking a face powder with SPF to reapply during the day (we like Bare Essentials SPF 30 powder brush).
Sin #3: Not covering the right spots. Many people make the mistake of just applying sunscreen to the face. Sunscreen should be applied not only on the face, but on the neck, ears, hands, shoulders and arms (if exposed). If you are going to be directly in the sun, it’s also a good idea to wear sun protective clothing.
Sin #4: Going to indoor tanning beds. Tanning beds are dangerous; in fact, the risk of melanoma is increased by 300% for those using tanning beds occasionally and by 800% for those using tanning beds more than 10 times a year. Instead of a tanning bed, we recommend using self-tanner or getting a spray tan.
Sin #5: Not protecting yourself outdoors. Believe it or not, sunscreen is not enough if you’re serious about sun protection. Seek shade when possible, remembering that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To be safe, wear a hat while driving or outdoors (Vasseur sells some fabulous, convenient roll-up hats for $15-$25 in-store. We also like these). Take an umbrella with you to the beach or park. We even recommend sun gloves while driving to protect your delicate hand skin from sun damage and age spots.
Sin #6: Overheating and not drinking enough water. Being in the sun can lead to overheating and dehydration. Bring a spray bottle or wet a bandana to keep cool on a really hot day. Make sure you are drinking enough water (8-12 glasses a day), especially if you are in the sun or doing outdoor activities. We use love our cute SIGG reusable tin water bottle.
Sin # 7: Getting sunburned. Perhaps the worst sun sin of all is getting a sunburn. The long-term effects of repeated bouts of sunburn include premature wrinkling and increased risk of skin cancer. Once skin damage occurs, it is impossible to reverse. This is why prevention is much better than cure. If you do get burnt, drink lots of water, take milk baths and use our Ester C Cream and Healing Serum.
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