What are the dangers?
Sunburn is the most immediate danger of too much exposure to the sun. Sunburn isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s actually deep celluar damage to the skin cells and blood vessels! Over time, this damage makes the skin look leathery, discolored, wrinkly, and flakey. This skin is weakened and will bruise more easily, even though it appears to be thicker.
The biggest danger, however, is skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found today, and many doctors believe that limiting over-exposure to the sun can help prevent it. Certain skin cancers, such as melanoma, can also spread to other areas of the body if not treated in time.
What are the benefits?
Your body absorbs vitamin D from the sun. This used to be an important reason to catch some rays, but today many foods are manufactured to be fortified with Vitamin D. You get more Vitamin D through your food these days than ever before, so it’s not quite as necessary to get it from the sun anymore.
Being outdoors is makes people feel good and getting exercise is healthy, but you should still take steps to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun while you’re outside enjoying yourself.
How can I avoid damage from the sun?
Staying out of direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself, but unless you’re a vampire, you’re going to need to go outdoors! So when you do, these tips will help minimize the damage:
Wear sunscreen! Always. Every day. Even in winter. Be sure to look at the SPF number on your sunscreen. The larger the SPF number, the greater the amount of protection. Everyone should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. If you have had skin cancer or precancer, you should use a sunscreen with an even higher SPF. Many of the new sunscreens have SPFs of 30, 45, or even higher.
Wear sunglasses that filter UV light. Many brands make stylish shades that also offer this protection.
Wear protective clothing, including brimmed hats, to help sheild your skin.
Avoid the mid-day sun. The UV rays that damage your skin are most powerful between 10am to 3pm.
What about getting a tan?
Many people like the way a suntan makes them look. And indeed, a tan can make you look younger, healthier, and reduce the appearance of cellulite and age spots. But is vanity worth the risk of skin cancer? No, it certainly isn’t! Many women lay out in direct sunlight for hours to get that perfect tan, but even with sunscreen on, UV rays can penetrate your skin and cause damage. Tanning beds, even though they aren’t real sunlight, carry the same risks.
There’s good news, though – there are many tanning products that you can use to bronze your skin without actually using the sun or tanning beds!
Airbrush tanning uses an all natural compound called DHA. DHA isn’t a dye, paint, or stain. It’s actually a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin. This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. DHA is approved by the FDA, and does not carry the serious risks that tanning outdoors or using a tanning bed does.