ways to protect your skin from the sun

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 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 1½ to 2 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 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, can increase your sensitivity to the sun (and to tanning beds). 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 spray-on treatments. Avoid tanning beds. They still contain some of the same harmful UV rays as the sun.


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