Now is the time of year when we want to soak in the sun and take advantage of the nice weather. Although it’s tempting to bathe in the warmth of our giant star, there are a few precautions to take to prevent skin cancer as one in five Americans are likely to get skin cancer by the age of 70.
Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the body and reflects our health and age? In today’s world, there’s more concern around sun bathing potentially leading to an increase in skin damage and skin cancer, and rightfully so! Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays can increase the production of free radicals that can adversely affect the integrity of collagen in the skin. Over time with this type of exposure, our skin becomes wrinkled, cracked, aged, and brittle (and for smokers, the effects are multiplied).
Research suggests that skin cancer is cumulative over a lifetime and begins with over-exposure throughout one’s life and even serious sunburns during childhood.
We can’t live without the sun – our bodies require sunlight in order to manufacture Vitamin D needed for calcium absorption, amongst other important things. As with all matters, everything is healthy in moderation, and this applies to sun exposure as well. Here are a few helpful tips and precautions to take when you’re soaking in the summertime sun.
TIPS FOR SAFE SUN EXPOSURE
Use sunscreen – Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF number for greater protection. Apply it onto your skin fifteen minutes before you go outside. Don’t forget your nose, ears, neck and even the tops of your feet! It’s best to ask for help in those hard-to-reach areas such as your back. Be sure to read ingredients!! Your sunscreen should be physical sunscreens with the active ingredients of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Time is key – Avoid sun exposure when the sun is at its highest peak in the sky, typically from about 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Staying in the shade or carrying something light to cover up in is wise.
Gear up – Wear a hat with a wide brim, t-shirt, and sunglasses that filter ultraviolet rays.
Drink it up – By keeping your body hydrated you can avoid dehydration and provide moisture for the skin to prevent dryness, cracking, and aging.
Pop a pill – Vitamins such as A, E, and some antioxidants help prevent skin damage from the inside. Cod Liver oil and FlaxSeed oil have also been used to support skin health.
Brush it off – Before you take a shower, use a dry skin brush. This can open pores and slough off dead skin, allowing your skin to breathe easily and work more efficiently.
Keep healthy – Some medications we take may have reactions and side effects when we’re exposed to sunlight. Acupuncture may be able to provide an alternative to these medications, keeping you healthy, safely and naturally.
If you want to have fun now, and not worry later, practice good sun sense. You and your skin deserve it.
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