Well, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer, and by the looks of it it’s going to be a hot one for most of the United States. So, it’s a good time to talk about skin protection.
Sunshine is healthy, but like nearly everything else too much can be harmful, and that is certainly the case when it comes to sun exposure. If it’s too hot this summer that may be a blessing in disguise for your skin as you may find yourself spending more time indoors in the air conditioning and out of the sun.
Skin Tips for the Sun
Stay hydrated: Skin protection starts with fluids. Drink plenty of fluids. Most of our body and skin is made up of water. The heat and the sun will lead to skin dehydration affecting the overall health of the skin. Water moves nutrients and oxygen into our cells and facilitates the removal of toxins and other waste products from the skin and body.
Water is the best fluid choice. Teas are a good option, too. Stay away from the soft drinks and sports drinks. The sugar in them leads to increase inflammation increasing the chances of sunburn. Plus, they can dehydrate you from the caffeine in them, which is a diuretic (teas contain some caffeine, too, but have much more health benefits).
Watch what you eat: What you eat is important, too. High glycemic foods are inflammatory and thus damaging to the body including the skin. High glycemic foods are those that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin (soft drinks). Focus on eating low glycemic foods. Vegetables and most fruits are low glycemic. Avoid packaged and processed food as much as possible. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, and unless you take a blood thinner doses of 4,000 to 6,000 mg are safe.
Sunscreen: Did you ever wonder what people did for skin protection before sunscreen ? Sunscreen is a relatively new invention when you think about it, and I question how important sunscreens really are if you follow the first 2 tips above. People have been able to avoid skin cancer for centuries without sunscreens.
But, having said that the recommendations by most dermatologists is to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. The FDA has made some changes in the way sunscreens are now labelled. There are 2 main types of ultraviolet radiation rays that concerns the skin. UVB rays are associated with skin cancer and UVA rays lead to accelerated aging of the skin. For ultimate skin protection look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that provides equal protection against UVB and UVA rays.
Reapply sunscreens every two hours – more frequently if you’re swimming or water skiing.
Don’t forget those precious lips. Apply lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Clothing: Clothing does provide some SPF protection. The best protection comes from the Spandex® and nylon long-sleeved shirts used in water sports. They can be found with SPF of 50 or more. Cotton shirts do not provide much protection and even less protection if they get wet. Hats can shield the face from the sun as can umbrellas.
Read the following articles to learn more about skin health.