Here's a new approach to summer:
"Stay out of the sun!"
I knew you wouldn't like it! And, because
that bronze glow is so alluring, I can almost guarantee you're going to
ignore my summertime advise. However, when you realize that your skin
has acquired the texture of microwaved bacon, you may say "my beachcombing
days are over."
There are several reason this is unrealistic. It's difficult to avoid the sun
altogether, and some sun is good for you. But, you can do the next best thing: protect your skin
from serious damage from ultraviolet rays. The truth is, no tan is safe.
Tanning is your skin's natural defense against ultraviolet rays. The pigment
melanin helps to prevent radiation from altering the skin's cellular DNA.
When we're young, our body's remarkable repair mechanism fixes or eliminates
damaged DNA. But the repairs are seldom complete, and the damage is
cumulative. The DNA damage that isn't repaired is a time bomb that comes
back to haunt us years later in the form of skin cancer. Over time, as we
age, the risk of skin cancer increases, depending on our history of sun
Plan outdoor activities to take place early in the morning
or late afternoon, because the midday sun causes the most damage to your
skin. This counsel is fine for weekdays, when most of us are indoors during
the peak danger hours of 10 AM to 4PM. But on weekends, your first instinct
should be to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before your first exposure. Unlike
moisturizer, which works best on moist skin, sunscreen should be applied to
dry skin; water and perspiration diminish its effectiveness. While burning UVB rays are strongest midday, equally dangerous UVA radiation is present
dawn to dusk, even on overcast days. In fact, cloudy days have a higher
percentage of burning, skin damaging rays than do sunny days. So, you need
sunscreen whenever you're outside for an extended period.
Number One Cause of
Prematurely Aging Skin is UV Exposure
High in the atmosphere, the ozone layer used to filter out much
of the sun's UV rays. Scientific evidence has shown that the ozone layer has
diminished significantly, allowing more UV radiation to reach the earth's
surface. It has become vital to guard
against excessive UV exposure. In most cases, it's sun exposure that causes
wrinkles around the eyes and forehead. I recommend that you select a
sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating of 30, or higher, and
reapply it after you perspire or swim.
Your Skin is The
Number One Priority
When applying sunscreen, remember sensitive places: the neck, and
décolletage (low neckline) areas, hands, tops of feet, ears, lips, and bald
spots. Apply it 30 minutes before exposure to allow the sunscreen to
penetrate the skin so it will be ready to work for you. Choose
clothing with a tight weave or fabrics with natural SPF or unbleached
cotton, high-luster polyesters and some silks. Wear a wide brimmed hat.
More than 90 percent of all skin cancers are caused by the sun, and most of
them are found on the head and neck. Remember to protect your eyes,
too, with UV-blocking, polarizing sunglasses. Like your skin, eyes can
get "cooked" too!
When you first begin sunbathing, limit
exposures to a few minutes, gradually increasing sun time each day.
The Operative Word
but it often becomes a question of how much can your skin
To understand the amount of protection offered by the SPF, the
----------- = equivalent unprotected exposure minutes per hour
Thus, 60 minutes divided by #30 = 2
unprotected minutes each hour.
In an 8 hour day of intense sun that's equivalent to about 16 minutes of
unprotected exposure - enough radiation to give most fair-skinned people
Establish a Daily
Place your sunscreen next to your toothpaste and apply it every morning,
rain or shine, 365 days a year. It's an important habit that may just 'save
your skin' about 20 to 30 years from now. Also, keep in mind that sunscreen
does not start working immediately ~ be sure to give it adequate absorption
You're at risk for the first 20 to 30 minutes. At EBAC, we sell
several excellent sunscreens for every skin type and condition.
If you get a
Bathe gently in cool or tepid (lukewarm) water using a gentle cleanser, then
apply a cortisone cream or Karin Herzog's 3% Oxygen Body Cream. Over the
next 12 hours, apply cold compresses and take an oral, over-the-counter
anti-inflammatory medicine*. Do not cover the affected area with oily
preparations like butter or petroleum jelly - they restrict oxygenation and
slow healing. If pain or inflammation is severe, consult a physician.
Discontinue use of potentially irritating glycolics and benzoyl peroxide
preparations (for treating acne) until the burn has healed.
If sunburn or inflammation is painful or severe, consult your physician.
* As always, observe all warnings and
precautions when taking any medication.
If you still want some color
Self-tanning products are a wonderful
substitute for the real thing. I recommend
TanTowels, or Jan Marini Skin
For deep, even-toned results use these products after cleansing with a
- Apply sunscreen daily - SPF 20 or higher
- two or more times per day - making sure you cover sensitive areas
- Acclimate you skin to sun exposure,
gradually increasing exposure over the first few days
- Avoid the intense midday sun
- Reapply sunscreen after perspiring or
...and keep your Sunny Side Up!