save your skin

Each year in the United States, more than five million people are treated for skin cancer. At age 40, the average person has received 47 percent of their cumulative sun damage. By age 60, it jumps to nearly 100 percent. Unprotected sun exposure is also the number one cause for skin aging, and less than half of older adults protect their skin from the sun when they are outside for an hour or more in the summer.

No one wants to deny themselves time with their family or friends when the weather is wonderful and the sun is shining. On the other hand, some of us feel we have to dress up like a mummy in order to avoid skin damage. So how can we protect ourselves from the harmful rays of the sun? Let’s answer some of your questions…

Does a higher SPF provide more protection from the sun?
The sun protection factor (SPF) number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. Sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30 will provide proper protection. Higher SPF numbers mean better protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference in protection. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out approximately 93% of harmful ultraviolet rays, while SPF 30 filters out about 97%, and SPF 50 blocks about 98%. SPF 100 is the most effective sunscreen at approximately 99%.

But beware. Very high SPFs can give sun worshippers a false sense of security, thinking it’s a stamp of approval to stay in the sun all day. Doing so can end up damaging your skin.
When using sunscreen, apply enough to cover the areas of your skin not covered by your clothing. Remember to reapply when engaging in swimming or other outdoor physical activities. You will need about one ounce to fully cover your body. And don’t forget to apply to the tops of your feet, neck, ears and the top of your head.

Can Retinol A repair sun damage?
Retinol is essentially a by-product of vitamin A, which is one of the body’s key nutrients for repairing sun damage, and is one of the best over-the-counter ingredients to counteract the effects of aging on skin. By accelerating skin renewal, it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots and even out skin tone. It dissolves oil and makes pores tighter and smoother, helping to keep them unclogged. However, if you use too high a strength or apply retinol more frequently than you should, it may cause irritation, redness or dryness if you have sensitive skin. Apply Retinol with a moisturizer to prevent dryness and irritation.

Is hyaluronic acid as effective as Retinol A?
People with dry skin benefit from hyaluronic acid, which is more of a moisturizing than healing ingredient. Hyaluronic acid pulls water from the environment into your skin and is effective at hydrating. It’s like a big drink of water for your pores. It can soften fine lines in your face, make your skin look firmer, and smooth out even the roughest dry patches of skin. Do not use hyaluronic acid without following up with a moisturizer, especially in a dry climate; otherwise it can drain the water from your skin leaving it dryer.

How harmful are Ultraviolet Rays?
Ultraviolet light (UV) is invisible to humans because it has shorter wavelengths than the light we can see. There are two types of UV rays that can damage your skin cells. UVB rays cause sunburn and play a key role in developing skin cancer, while UVA rays age the skin and cause wrinkles.

No single method of sun defense is 100% effective. Sunscreen is just one vital part of a strategy that should also include simple but effective methods such as staying in the shade, and wearing a hat and sunglasses. A hat can protect your head against melanoma (skin cancer), while sunglasses with UV protection can keep your eyes from developing cataracts.

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