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The Best Skin Care Tip

            The best skin care tip is to make sun protection part of your daily routine.  For example, if you plan to take an afternoon walk or do yard work, keep your hat and sunscreen where you will see them as you head outdoors.  Just make it part of your day in the sun ritual.

Not convinced the sun is damaging your skin?  The proof is where the sun doesn’t shine in areas of your skin protected by clothes.  The skin in these areas remains smoother, tighter, and with better elasticity as we age.

It’s never too early to begin changing habits that can help protect your skin.

While we can’t live without the sun, the flip side is that too much sun can be our skin’s worst friend.  If you’re fair skinned, 10 minutes in the midday sun in shorts and a tank top with no sunscreen will give you about 10,000 international units of vitamin D.  For darker skin, it takes a little longer.  After 10 minutes, the direct sun provides little additional benefit and plenty of skin damaging rays that can suppresses your immune system, making it easier for skin cancer to grow.  There’s also the issue of free radicals activating enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, the skin ingredients that keep your face taut and supple.  The cumulative effect of excessive sun is prematurely aging skin with lines that don’t necessarily suggest wisdom.

When we can’t avoid being in direct sun for an extended period of time, a wide brimmed hat can be the solution.  At times, the most practical solution will be sunscreen lotions.  Unfortunately remembering to protect ourselves is easy to forget.  For many, improper application of sunscreen lotions significantly reduces their value.

What is SPF Sunscreen?  SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from the type of sun radiation called UVB rays.  Unfortunately the sun produces other types of skin damaging radiation.

What’s Wrong With High SPF? – Ideally applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor, SPF, of 50 would allow you to be in the sun 50 times longer before suffering sunburn.  Unfortunately, few follow the instructions for properly applying sunscreen lotions.

Consumer Reports – Need information about sunscreens?  Consumer Reports is a good resource.  Their unbiased guides can help you choose the best sunscreen for your needs.

Now, enjoy the sun, just not too much at one time.

Nancy Neighbors, MD

By Nancy Neighbors, MD

... Dr. Neighbors provides a blend of traditional family medicine and evidence-based lifestyle medicine in Huntsville, Alabama. When indicated, lifestyle change is recommended as the first line of therapy.

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