Want healthy and beautiful skin? It's simple. Eat healthy and protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
Many people head outside to enjoy the beautiful weather as temperatures warm up. Being outside – walking, biking, gardening, etc. – is a great way to reduce stress, exercise, and absorb some often-needed vitamin D. However, protecting your skin from the sun is vital to prevent premature aging and skin cancer.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and more than two people will die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. Furthermore, more than 90% of skin cancer is caused by exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds.
"Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation that is emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "The beneficial effects of UV radiation include the production of a vital nutrient, vitamin D; however, overexposure may present risks. Sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer are all risks to overexposure."
The good news is that skin cancer is preventable!
5 Sun Safety Tips
Two types of UV rays can harm your skin – UVA and UVB. The Skin Cancer Foundation explains the difference:
- Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength. It is associated with skin aging.
- Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength. It is associated with skin burning.
Both can damage the DNA in skin cells, causing mutations that lead to skin cancer or premature aging, so look for a "broad spectrum" or "full spectrum" sunscreen that filters out both UVA and UVB rays.
Experts recommend applying full-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher. Generally, the higher the SPF number, the more protection it provides. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Experts agree that an SPF factor of 15 is the minimum needed to prevent skin damage from UVB. Sunscreens with SPFs higher than 50 provide only a small increase in UVB protection, compared to SPF 30 or SPF 50. That means high SPF sunscreens, such as SPF 100, may not be worth the added expense you pay for them when compared to the protection they offer."
The Mayo Clinic also states, "The key to getting the full amount of SPF protection from sunscreen is applying it generously and frequently." Unfortunately, most people do not use enough sunscreen. According to the Mayo Clinic, two tablespoons of sunscreen is only enough to cover your face, neck, and the back of your hands. You must also reapply sunscreen about every two hours or more frequently if you're swimming or sweating (sunscreen may be water-resistant but can't be waterproof).
Try to find shade whenever you are outside. For example, if you're going for a run or bike ride, try to choose a shady trail. Likewise, set up an umbrella to escape the sun's damaging rays when you're out on the beach.
Most sunglasses help protect your eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal sunburn, and conjunctival cancers caused by UV rays and the tender skin around your eyes.
When possible, wear long-sleeve shirts and/or long pants to protect your skin from the sun when you're outside. Tightly woven, dark materials provide the most protection. Some clothing even has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating that indicates how much of the sun's UV rays can penetrate the fabric.
Wear a Hat
Some hats also have a UPF rating. But any hat that blocks the sun can help protect your skin. Look for a hat that shades your face, ears, and back of your neck. Again, tightly woven dark materials tend to provide more protection.
Eat Healthy for Healthy and Beautiful Skin
Research shows the proper diet helps support skin health. GO4IT Health (formerly My Neat Health) offers healthy meal replacement shakes, bars, drinks, and more! Health experts and medical professionals formulate our products to help eliminate the guesswork of healthy eating.