Warm weather is finally here so it's time to discuss healthy sun care. We have developed a fear of the sun. I love spending time outdoors but have a healthy respect for the sun. Regular, moderate, unprotected sun exposure is essential for good health.
My 10 FACTS about Healthy Sun Protection:
FACT #1: Sun over-exposure not healthy sun exposure causes premature aging, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, hyper-pigmentation and skin cancer. Prepare your skin by gradually building up its tolerance. Start in the spring or early in the morning before the sun is strongest and slowly build up the amount of time you spend in the sun.
FACT #2: All sunscreens protect from UVB rays however only broad-spectrum sunscreens protect from both UVB + UVA rays. UVB rays affect the top layers of the skin and are responsible for Burning. UVA rays affect the lower layers of the skin and are responsible for Aging.
FACT #3: Applying a higher SPF does not offer you extended protection in the sun. Sunscreens with high SPF give people a false sense of security, which leads to inadequate use and increased exposure.
SPF 15 = 92% protection from damaging UV rays
SPF 30 = 97% protection from damaging UV rays
SPF 40 = 97.5% protection from damaging UV rays
FACT #4: RE-APPLICATION of sunscreen every 2 hours is key to effective sun protection. After 2 hours, your sun protection is 0%.
FACT #5: Sunscreen becomes less effective as it gets older so replace your sunscreen every year. Keep sunscreen out of the heat as well as heat can also make it less effective.
FACT #6: Chemicals in commercial sunscreens produce free radicals which cause aging and inflammation in the body. Titanium oxide or zinc oxide deflect the sun's rays and are a natural alternative to sunscreen chemicals. Avoid avobenzone or oxybenzone.
FACT #7: Plant oils offer varying degrees of ultraviolet protection, are rich in antioxidants to prevent free radical damage, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial to support the skin. Seek out products containing jojoba, seabuckthorn, red raspberry seed and cranberry seed oils.
FACT #8: Apply sunscreen 30 minutes PRIOR to going outdoors. As a rule of thumb, apply one ounce (a handful) to cover the entire body.
FACT #9: Sunlight in the form of UVB rays on our skin activates our bodies production of Vitamin D 'the sunshine vitamin' which we know is essential for optimizing health and preventing disease. In North America, we tend to be deficient in Vitamin D. Studies suggest 15-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure two to three times per week to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D.
FACT #10: The most effective sun protection is a physical barrier and shade so wear a hat and clothing to protect your skin.
Like all living things, we need sunshine. Our bodies use sunlight to help the skin produce the vitamin D it needs to keep us healthy. Do not fear the sun, develop a healthy relationship with it. Our summer is short so get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine!