It may not yet be summer, but it's certainly on its way. As much as we love summer and the warm sun, it also means a greater chance of damage to our skin. While you should always be protecting your skin year round - even in the winter - it's even more important in the summer when the sun is at its strongest. Luckily, with so many ways to protect your skin, summer doesn't mean you have to hide indoors and chase the shadows. You can have fun in the beautiful outdoors worry-free. Here are five easy ways to protect your beautiful skin all summer long.
Sunscreen is the most obvious form of skin protection. With so many sunscreen brands and types on the market, how do you know which one to pick? Here are some simple pointers:
- Check the expiration date. Never use expired sunscreen, as it won't protect your skin. If your bottle doesn't have an expiration date, check the consistency of the sunscreen. If it feels gritty or clumpy, it's likely expired. In general, sunscreen is supposed to last three years, but that varies greatly by brand and ingredients.
- Shoot for SPF 30-50. Many dermatologists agree that SPF 30 is the sweet spot for protection levels. Don't fall into the trap of thinking SPF 30 protects twice as much as SPF 15. SPF works on a scale basis. SPF 15 blocks around 94% of UVB rays, and SPF 30 blocks about 97%. SPF 45 or 50 blocks around 98%. After that, the increase is minimal. Many dermatologists agree that SPF 80 and 100 is more of a gimmick to get you to spend more. No sunscreen of any level blocks 100% of rays.
- Apply enough. Too many people don't apply enough sunscreen. It should take you several minutes to rub all the sunscreen into your skin. Don't apply a thin layer; glob it on! Take the time to massage it thoroughly into your skin. There used to be a rule that claimed you needed a shot glass size of sunscreen. However, everyone's body is a different size, so that rule doesn't apply well for most people. Judge for yourself, but when in doubt, apply twice as much as you think you need.
- Reapply every hour or two. Sunscreen doesn't do you much good if you only apply it once. If you plan on being outside all day, bring a tube with you and reapply every hour or so.
Clothing with UPF (essentially the fabric version of SPF) has made major strides in the past few years. When UV wear first entered the market, the fabric was thick, unattractive, and uncomfortable. Today, there are some great options on the market. We love Sundriven, which offers stylish dresses, wraps, gloves, and more. Each item is made with an eco-friendly fabric that feels soft as silk but lighter than linen. It keeps your skin cool when it's warm out and features UPF 50+. UPF clothing is great to wear over your arms, chest, hands, and legs so you don't have to worry about sunscreen and reapplying so often. UV wear is particularly great for your hands, since most people forget to apply sunscreen on their hands. And, even if they do, they may accidentally wash it off when they wash their hands.
Don't forget to protect your delicate scalp! This is doubly important for women who color their hair or who have dark hair. It's not uncommon to forget about your ears and scalp, and it's really hard to protect your scalp as sunscreens are too greasy for your head. While there are some sprays on the market, many of them are still oily and greasy. The easiest and most stylish way to protect your head is with an oversized hat.
Your eyes are extremely delicate and need protection. Not only do sunglasses protect your eyes, but they also protect the delicate skin around them. Prevent crow's feet and fine lines around your eyes by wearing a large pair of sunglasses. The darker the tint better, so go for a stylish pair of black sunglasses.
What? That's right. Several foods have UV protective powers and can help strengthen your skin and nourish it. Tomatoes are great because they have lycopene, which acts as a natural sunscreen. Other foods rich in antioxidants are kale, olives, Brazil nuts, and green tea.
Author: Melissa Darcey