Up until the 1920’s sun exposure was something that people kept to a minimum, if given a choice. Having a suntan was a sign of laboring in the outdoors, an indication that one was of a lower socio-economic status, but everything changed as soon as the rebellious Coco Chanel was seen donning a golden tan. Suddenly, having sun-kissed skin became en vogue and indicative of enjoying a leisurely life. In other words, we became a culture that sought the sun rather than shying away from its rays.
There has long been debate on whether the risks of sunning outweigh the benefits. While experts agree that UV exposure is harmful in large doses, most agree that in moderation and when approached with caution, the sun’s rays can actually be beneficial. Doctors agree that exposure to sunlight is necessary for the body to produce healthy levels of Vitamin D, which is critical to maintenance of strong bones, healthy blood pressure levels, and in fighting many auto immune diseases. According to the American Psychiatric Association, sun exposure boosts energy and lowers depression, and dermatologists claim that getting just the right amount of sunlight can help provide skin with a beautiful glow, soothe some skin conditions, smooth out dry skin and help heal acne. So, how does one enjoy the sun and reap its benefits while avoiding skin cancer and the sun’s aging effects?
Here is the skinny on taking care of skin when planning on soaking in the sun:
1. Apply sunscreen to face and body daily. Choose at least an SPF of 15 or higher for normal days and 30+ SPF for days where outdoor activity is inevitable. Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure, and if swimming or extremely active, re-apply every two hours.
2. Seek shade as often as possible during the hours of 10am and 4 pm in order to avoid the sun’s most harmful rays.
3. Try to avoid burning completely. Any color achieved from sun exposure is indicative of cellular damage on some level. Be very aware of any spots on the skin, and note if they change over time.
4. Wear protective clothing and sunglasses when in the sun. Light-weight fabrics in darker shades offer excellent sun shielding qualities, cute hats can help keep your scalp shaded, and sunglasses are important to protecting the eyes, and delicate skin surrounding the eyes, from the harsh glare.
5. Remember to be extra careful of protecting your skin around snow, sand, and surf. All of these things greatly amplify the power of the sun’s rays, and with their reflective qualities, can burn you in places you overlooked protecting.
For more information on optimal skin care visit The Skin Care Professionals online at http://www.theskincareprofessionals.com.