Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunny Days!

We all know we need to protect our skin from the sun's harmful rays. Of course, it's impossible to avoid the sun — who wants to hide indoors when it feels so great to get outside and be active? And the sun's not all bad, anyway: Sunlight helps our bodies create vitamin D. So follow these tips when you're outdoors to help manage sun exposure:
Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, even if it's cloudy or you don't plan on spending a lot of time outdoors. If you sweat a lot or go swimming, reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours (even if the bottle says the sunscreen is waterproof).
Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Look for the words "broad spectrum protection" or UVA protection in addition to the SPF of 15 or greater. Select a sunscreen that says "nonacnegenic" or "noncomedogenic" on the label to help keep pores clear.
The sun's rays are strongest between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, so make sure you reapply sunscreen frequently and take breaks indoors if you can. If your shadow is longer than you are tall, then it's a safer time to be in the sun (you should still wear sunscreen, though).
Apply more sunscreen (with higher SPF) when you're around reflective surfaces like water, snow, or ice.
We all know that the sun can damage skin, but did you know it can contribute to eye problems, too? Protect your face and eyes with a hat and sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.
Some medications, such as prescription acne medications or birth control pills, can increase your sensitivity to the sun, so if you're taking medication, increase your sun protection.
If you want the glow of a tan, try faking it with self-tanners or salon tanning treatments. Avoid tanning beds, though, because although manufacturers claim that tanning beds are free of UVB rays, they still use harmful UVA rays.

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