Sun-Protection Essentials: SPF done right!

Follow these sun-protection application tips for a healthier you.


• Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Use 1 ounce—think shot glass at the bar—of lotion with each application. For extra protection, apply an antioxidant serum before sunscreen. Antioxidants help to fight free-radical damage from the environment (think stress, pollution, and sun exposure).• Repeat, repeat, repeat. When it comes to SPF, apply lots and often. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and layer on an extra coat after swimming, toweling off, or exercising. • Dont let cloudy days fool you. SPF should be applied year-round. UV protection is not just a “beach thing”; the sun rises all year. • The streets are lined with snowflakes; do I still need to apply sunscreen? Absolutely! You may be bundled up or cooped up inside for most of the winter, but your face and hands are STILL exposed to harmful rays. To minimize sun damage, use a product with an SPF of at least 15. Snow reflects ultraviolet light too. So if youre out skating, sledding, or making a snowman you need at least an SPF 30 to protect against the added exposure.• Naked and unprotected—lips! Neglecting this thin-skinned area can result in painful sunburns and lip lines and wrinkles associated with aging. FYI: Sun penetrates through lipstick, especially lighter shades. Remember to always apply (and reapply at least every hour) a lip-protection balm with SPF.• Want extra protection? Try wearing some skin-shielding gear. Garments with a special coating help absorb both UVA and UVB rays—there are especially great for outdoor workouts. Regular clothes can shield you, too, if they are made of tightly woven fabrics and have a dark color. • Headgear is a must in the summer! Choose a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around to protect the skin on your face, ears, and neck from the sun.• Another excuse to accessorize: sunglasses. Less squinting means fewer wrinkles! Protect the delicate skin around your eyes with sunglass styles that extend past your temples. Pick a pair that block 99% of UV rays for optimum protection.• If the damage is already done, heal a pesky sunburn with an after-sun repair lotion. Look for one with aloe vera. It heals damaged skin cells and cools hot, irritated skin. Play MD. Examine your face and body frequently for new skin growth or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps, and birthmarks.
Last Updated: September 07, 2010

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