When it’s time to make a change in your habits to get healthier, most of the time people start with eating better and exercising. This is a great place to start! But sometimes we tend to neglect one of the most important parts of the body – our skin. The best beauty advice I can give is to take care of your skin.
There are benefits to getting your daily dose of Vitamin D. The sun has a bad reputation for the negative effects it has on our body, but there are both positive and negative aspects to spending time in the sun. With most things in life, moderation is key.
The sunlight can have an incredible effect on your mood. Being in the sun can make you feel better and give you more energy. Sunlight increases levels of serotonin, the feel-good chemical messenger in the brain, that is known for its mood-improving qualities. In certain people, the lack of sunlight in the winter can trigger depression and lower moods. With increased sun exposure during the warmer season, it’s not surprising that serotonin levels in most people are highest in the summer months. Exposure to the sun has also been known relieve stress, improve sleep, and with just 15 minutes a day the sun can provide all the Vitamin D your body needs.
There is a downside to staying in the sun too long. Consequences to long-term sun exposure can cause heat rashes, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, eye damage, and an increase risk of certain cancers. It is best to limit your outdoor activities when ultra-violet rays are at their highest, which is between 10:00am – 4:00pm. Reducing your risk to these consequences is important.
Here are some quick tips to safely enjoying the sun:
- Shade is your friend! Whether it be from a tree, umbrella, or a shelter, this is the best way to reduce your risk from long-term sun exposure.
- Don’t be afraid to wear more clothing. Long sleeved shirts, pants, and long skirts (particularly made of tightly woven fabric) will protect your skin from UV rays. Darker colors offer more protection than lighter colors. I wear Lilly Pulitzer long sleeve UPF-50 shirts when I play tennis or golf, go hiking, kayaking or am outside being active. They are so cute and fashionable yet they offer sun protection. There are other brands of UPF clothing at different price points, but Lilly Pulitzer are my go-to brand.
- Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement. Most sunglasses block both UVA and UVB rays. Wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes from long-term effects like cataracts and also protect the skin around your eyes. For extra protection, wear sunglasses that wrap around the eyes, so they block the sun from sneaking in from the side.
- Hats will provide your own shade. A wide-brimmed hat will shade your eyes, face, ears, and the back of your neck. Find a hat made of fabric like canvas instead of hats with holes in them for the most protection.
- Not all sunscreen is created equal. Although wearing sunscreen will protect your skin from future damage, it is best to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.
- Learn to apply sunscreen correctly. Yes there is a right way to apply sunscreen and it will only be effective if applied correctly. The American Academy of Dermatology Association created a quick tutorial on how to apply sunscreen. You can watch that below:
Over time, sun exposure can damage the skin, causing wrinkles, lines, dark spots, and other visible effects that can mostly be prevented by wearing sunscreen. But did you know that you shouldn’t just wear sunscreen when it’s sunny?
Sunscreen should actually be worn daily, no matter your location or the season. Sun exposure can add up, even when you are in and out running errands on a daily basis. It is best to wear sunscreen daily on your face and other areas of concern. If you aren’t active and sweating a lot, you can apply first thing in the morning on your hands, neck, and face and have protection throughout the day.
Wearing sunscreen on your face doesn’t have to feel weighted and heavy. There are many light-weight sunscreens on the market that work with a variety of skin types. If you have dry skin, choose a face sunscreen with hydrating ingredients. If you have oily skin, look for sunscreens that have a matte finish. When applying face sunscreen, make sure that you apply it after any serums or moisturizers. My favorite sunscreen for face is Supergoop Glowscreen. I use this sunscreen every day on my face! It has vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid which is also good for your skin to keep it hydrated and healthy. It is made with clean ingredients, avoiding harmful chemicals. I love it!
You can read more about the different types of face sunscreens here.
In addition to your daily face sunscreen, if you are basking in the sun’s ray for more than 15 minutes a day, choosing the right sunscreen for your body is important. Many sunscreens are packed full of chemicals that are absorbed through the skin and can impact your health. It’s important to choose a good chemical-free sunscreen that is good for both skin and body. The Environmental Working Group has a great guide to sunscreens, their ingredients, and an SPF guide. You can read that here. Their site is an incredible tool for resources, including the best sunscreens for the type of activity you are participating in.
The question you may have after reading all of these tips for sun protection may be, “If I’m avoiding the sun’s rays, or lathering on sunscreen, how will I ever get a tan?”
There are much safer ways to get a tan. There are countless sunless tanners like lotions, sprays and tinted makeup to provide color without getting damage from the sun. Airbrush tans are also very popular and can leave lasting color. Something to consider when using fake tanning methods is that you still need to protect your skin when you are exposed to the sun.
At any age, whether you are trying to prevent your skin’s aging or protect from future damage, it is never too early to start wearing sunscreen and taking additional precautions. Are you protecting your skin?