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5 ultimate skin savers

September 2012

By Lam Le and Adelina Espat

skin, sunscreenWant to prevent skin cancer, premature wrinkles and other signs of aging? Protect your skin year-round from the sun’s damaging rays. 

“No matter the time of year, sun safety is a must for healthy skin,” says Susan Chon, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Dermatology at 
MD Anderson. “Don’t let cooler temperatures fool you. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays even in winter months.”

And, exposing your skin to UV rays for long periods of time will increase your cancer risks and lead to premature aging.

Use these five expert tips to shield your skin from sun damage.

  1. skin, sunscreenSlather on the sunscreen. Use SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to protect your skin from UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-B rays penetrate the top layers of your skin to cause sunburn. Think B for burn. UV-A rays penetrate the lower layers of your skin to cause aging. Think A for aging.
  2. Select an effective sunscreen. Look for a sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in the list of ingredients. These mineral particles tend to cause less skin irritation. Plus, they help block both UV-B and UV-A rays. Use water resistant  “broad spectrum” sunscreen for optimal skin protection.
  3. Don’t hold back on the squirt. Apply about one ounce, or a golf ball-size of sunscreen, to your arms, legs, face and neck. You should apply it 30 minutes before your outdoor adventure. And, no matter what sunscreen you use, reapply every two hours to ensure all-day protection. It’s best to apply sunscreen generously.
  4. Wear shades for eye protection. Whether it’s cloudy or sunny outside, your eyes are constantly exposed to invisible UV rays. In the same way that UV rays damage the skin, they also damage the lens and retina of the eyes. So, wear wide-rimmed sunglasses to protect the delicate skin around your eyes. And, make sure your shades offer broad UV protection that absorbs at least 99% of the sun’s rays.
  5. Build a great hat collection. Hats aren’t just a great way to accessorize an outfit. They also provide more sun protection than using sunscreen alone. Look for tightly woven hats with a wide brim to cover your face, neck, ears and chest. That way, you’ll stay shaded and stylish.

So, make these sun-smart choices for healthier, more youthful skin today – and tomorrow. 

Related links:

Sunscreen: Tips to wear it well (MD Anderson)

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