With skin cancer rates on the rise, not to mention the undesirable appearance of prematurely aging skin due to sun damage, proper protection is nonnegotiable. Traditional sunscreens are a controversial product, and rightfully so: many contain toxic and irritating ingredients and may even be misleading in their skin-protecting claims. Invest in your skin’s resiliency by taking a broad-spectrum and holistic approach – here’s where to start.
Today’s UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing options are not only functional, they are fashionable too. UPF clothing is especially important for those with fair skin and folks who spend long hours recreating outdoors, as its protection factor doesn’t get diluted by sweat or water. Full-brimmed UPF 50 hats provide reliable protection for the scalp, face and décolleté, while long-sleeved yet lightweight shirts and shorts or pants protect the limbs. Don these super sun guards when hiking, swimming, paddling and being outdoors for long periods of time and know you are caring for your skin.
What many don’t realize is that there are scientifically backed strategies for building the skin’s defense system from the inside out. Nutrients like Polypodium leucotomos, niacin and antioxidants can have a profound effect on how the skin responds to sun exposure. Additionally, fermented cod liver oil, astaxanthin, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and lycopene support the skin’s protective abilities and help it recover after prolonged UV exposure. Enjoy plenty of citrus, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, flax seeds, almonds, leafy greens, pomegranate and green tea for optimal skin strength.
Slather It (Safely!)
All sunscreens are not created equal. It’s important when choosing a formula that you read the ingredients carefully. Chemicals like oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, homosalate, octocrylene, nano-zinc oxides and nano-titanium dioxides are not only potentially irritating and toxic for humans, they are also harmful to marine life. Choose options that are safe for reefs and humans, which contain mineral ingredients like non-nanotized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. And don’t overdo it: Avoiding the sun during peak hours (generally 10am to 3pm) is the single most powerful way to evade skin damage due to overexposure.
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