Protecting the Skin You're In
By Alli Ross
Summer is approaching and thousands of people will be working on their tans before they whip out their shorts and swimsuits. However, improper skin care can cause permanent damage from the suns rays. Regardless of your skin type, it is very important to protect your skin. Here are some key tips to keep in mind this summer.
Choose an appropriate sunscreen. If you've been to the store lately, you've probably seen a complete aisle full of sun block products. It's often hard to know which one to buy. Look for one that protects against UVA and UVB rays. (UVB rays are actually more harmful for sun burning the UVA rays). It's crucial that your sun screen protects against both of these sun rays. Don't waste your time with half the protection.
What about the SPF?
The SPF number simply tells people how much longer they can last out in the sun without being burned. The higher the SPF number, the longer your skin is protected against the sun.
For example, lets say you put on a sunscreen with SPF 20. This would protect your skin up to 20 times longer than your average amount of protection time. To find out how long your sunscreen will protect your skin (multiply how long it normally takes you to burn * SPF of your sunscreen) So, if you normally burn after 30 minutes in the sun and you have sunscreen with an SPF 15, your skin would be protected for 450 minutes (or 7.5 hours)
It's also important to consider skin types when choosing the proper sunscreen.
For young children (6 months and up) : Choose a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to protect against both sun tanning and burning. Look for a product that offers UVA and UVB protection. This is known as the "broad-spectrum".
For Very Fair Skin: This type of skin burns quickly. Look for a sunscreen containing SPF 20 to 30.
For Fair Skin: This type of skin burns fairly easily but some tanning occurs. Look for sunscreen products containing SPF 8 to 12.
For Medium Skin: This type of skin yields a moderate brown shade when exposed to the sun. Look for sunscreen products containing SPF 4 to 8.
For Dark Skin: This type of skin rarely burns. Look for sunscreen products containing SPF 2 to 4.
After choosing an appropriate sunscreen, apply it before going out into the sun. Be sure and apply it generously over all skin that will be exposed.
Taking good care of your skin now will give you great-looking skin well into the future.
P.S. Your skin is your number one defense mechanism against the environmental elements. Exercise, rest, and good nutrition are the foundation for beautiful, healthy skin.