Protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays this summer
AS A TEENAGER, tanning was trendy, so I aspired for
a deep caramel shade, but ended up looking like a lobster. Now that
I know better, I protect my porcelain skin in an effort to avoid
shriveling like a raisin or facing melanoma.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Society,
limiting sun exposure is the best way to help prevent all skin
cancers, including melanoma. But when you can't stay in the shade
or cover up your flesh, turn to sunscreen to provide a barrier
between your skin and the sun.
Just how important is sunscreen? "Since more than 1 million new
cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, using sun
protection on a daily basis is a must," says dermatologist Howard
Murad, M.D., associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA and
founder of Murad Inc., a leader in skincare for the past two
decades. "I recommend that you use a sunscreen with an SPF [sun
protection factor] of at least 30. And it's important to look for a
sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays."
But haphazardly dabbing sunscreen on won't do the trick-applying
it correctly makes all the difference in proper coverage. Sunscreen
must be applied daily, before you head outdoors, and reapplied
every two hours, or more often if you're swimming or sweating.
Remember that the sun's harmful rays are strongest between 10
a.m. and 2 p.m., so seek shade or head inside during this time to
avoid overexposure. And don't let overcast days fool you. Harmful
UV light can travel through clouds, so you need sunscreen even when
the sun appears to be hiding.
-By Julie Wlodychak