Your first line of defense against sun damage is wearing sunscreen -- always. It defends your body against skin cancer as well as premature wrinkles and other signs of aging. "The number-one anti-aging product on the market today is sunscreen, says Tricia Trimble, esthetician and founder of BeautyIntuition.com and Suntegrity Skincare. "I highly recommend clients use an SPF 30 mineral sunscreen daily under makeup."
Not all sunscreens are created equal. Make sure the product you choose has both UVB and UVA protection -- not all of them do. The SPF is a measurement of UVB protection (SPF should be at least 15), but SPF does not measure UVA protection. Both UVA and UVB cause skin cancer and wrinkles, so look for a sunscreen that indicates "UVA protection provided" on the packaging.
You sweat, you take a dip in the pool (or the ocean), you towel off and you wipe away your sunscreen. We can't stress enough how important it is to keep sunscreen with you and to reapply after swimming or sweating. Sunscreen works only if it's actually on your skin, so keep an eye on what you're doing and how long it's been since you last applied it.
The sun is at its most intense between 11 AM. and 3 PM. Avoid going outdoors during these hours of the day, or find a shady spot for some reprieve from the rays.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the sensitive skin around your eyes from sun exposure, not to mention minimize the need to squint, which can cause fine lines to develop. Look for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays, as these will offer the best protection.
To further protect your face and eyes from the sun, invest in a stylish, wide-brimmed hat. This will also shade your ears and the back of your neck -- both of which can burn easily if left unprotected. A tightly woven fabric (like canvas) works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid loosely woven straw hats, which can let sunlight through, defeating the purpose of wearing a hat.
Missing spots when you're applying sunscreen is easier than you think. We've all had days at the beach ruined by a forgotten spot -- ears, knees, back -- which end up getting burnt to a crisp. Mentally go over every inch of your body and check off everything that's been covered. Have a friend do hard-to-reach spots like your shoulders and back to ensure even coverage.
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