Summer is on its way, and that means lots of fun in the sun. While you may enjoy some sunbathing, there a few things you need to know before you lay down that beach towel.
You are what you eat. Ok, not really, but did you know that what you eat can affect your suntan? That’s right, there is such a thing as a sun-friendly diet. Your skin is your largest organ, and for it to function properly, you’ve got to give it some love…in the form of watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, and tomatoes. These foods help increase your body’s lycopene production, and lycopene is your body’s very own, homemade SPF. Almonds, pomegranates, carrots, kale, swiss chard, spinach, and green lettuce can help you avoid sunburn when you’ve been over-exposed to the sun.
The sun is the only light source that is allowed to tan you. Nope, indoor tanning beds aren’t allowed, and they don’t even count as real sunbathing. While the sun provides us with UVB rays, tanning beds spit out UVA. It is the lovely sun’s UVB rays that help stimulate vitamin B production. Tanning beds are not your friend, they are actually the enemy of youthful-looking skin. Because the UVA rays from a tanning bed penetrate deeply into the thickest layer of your skin, it prematurely ages that youthful face that you are keeping up so well. So, now we say “no” to tanning beds. Got it? Oh, and by the way, tanning beds increase your risk of skin cancer by up to 75%. Enough said.
You’ve most likely been told to exfoliate that skin to keep that baby-soft feeling skin you’ve got going. But, did you know that exfoliating also helps make your tan last longer? You heard me right, by removing those nasty dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin, you are also removing the dirt and oil that clogs your pores. The less junk built up on your skin, the shallower that layer is, which then makes your tan last longer. The fact that exfoliating also helps prevent acne just makes that sugar scrub a double-threat.
It may sound like a contraction, but sunscreen is actually a friend of the suntan. Any sunscreen is better than no screen, but they are not all created equally. Sunscreen that contains zinc oxide is the most effective, followed by titanium oxide. By the way, SPF stands for sun protection factor, and it extends the time you can spend in the sun, without damaging your new favorite organ. Applying sunscreen fifteen to thirty-minutes before heading out into the great outdoors, is the best way to enjoy fun and sun.
Not every day needs to be a sunny day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the strongest UV rays hit from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, during those sunny days. It might be wise to throw a little shade during these hours, to keep from getting a sunburn that can ruin more than just a day in the sun.
That cool pair of sunnies is good for more than just making you look cool. Sunglasses that provide UV and UVB protection, can protect your eyes,and that delicate skin around your eyes. (Hello no need for wrinkle cream!) Sun on unprotected-peepers can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration.
So, go on and get out there to enjoy your day in the sun. Remember to tan slowly and safely. Just like all good things, a great suntan takes time (and sunscreen!)
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