Sun Protection: Sunscreen and Beyond

Alright, so by now we’ve all heard it: too much exposure to the sun can cause premature wrinkling and sagging of the skin, eye damage due to macular degeneration, and deadly skin cancer. One in thirty Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year alone. Okay, so do I have your attention? Thank you. Because it’s time to fall out of love with your UV habit and in love with the hottest trends in sun safety products.

Sun safety tip number one? Get yourself a flawless tan. No, not the kind where you sit on your back all day, baking like cod fish on a red hot grill. Today there are so many superior options for a sunless tan that there’s no reason you can’t look like you’ve just spent the last two weeks in Copacabana year round. Hollywood Tans, with salon locations from coast to coast, is the number one salon option for the perfect, fail-safe tan. (sans tan lines for you bare-it-all types.) How does it work? Consider it akin to the UV tanning booth, but one in which you stand up in; simply strip, step in the booth, let the mist coat you in beautiful copper color, and whala: you’ve got the perfect tan.

Not willing to spend the time or money for a designer salon sunless tan? There are still many options for you in the way of self-tanning products, one of the most convenient being a wonderful product called Tantowel, which are one-use towellets that come in their own stellar pouches. The more you use, the darker your tan, and Tantowel promises to deliver a sun-kissed glow in just four hours. Other great no-sun tanning products are Aerotan,’ by Sexy Hair; Benefit Jiffy Tan and Phytomer Bronz Perfect Self Tanning Gel. Luckily, most of these items are available at your local Sephora.
But just because you’ve got the sunglow without the ravages of the sun’s UV rays, don’t think it’s time to start abusing your skin. You’ve still got a long way to go before you’re truly safe in the sun. What does your dermatologist always tell you? Wear sunscreen everyday! She probably also warns you to go out as little as possible between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Add to that sunscreen admonition the importance of checking the back of your sunscreen labels to make sure they contain the most effective sunscreening properties, including Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Parsol and Mexoryl, for full UV spectrum protection.

Okay, so you’ve got the tan without the sun, when you do go out you use sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and your avoid direct sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Guess what? You’re still not out of the woods yet! If you really want to play it safe from harm’s way, you’ll also have to make sure that you’re clad in sun protective clothing. Why, you ask, should you bother? Some t-shirts offer an SPF of less than 5. Other fabrics, such as loose weave linen, a popular summer fabric, offer next to no sun protection whatsoever. When you think about just how vulnerable these thin fabrics can leave you, you’ll become a believer in total sun protecton.

It used to be that sunscreen safe clothes used to look as if they came with a built in geek detector. They came in bright, garish colors and unstylish, uncomfortable styles. Today’s sunscreen clothing, however, is much more fashion-forward, and offers all day SPF 30 protection. Two of the more popular online clothiers are Coolibar and Solumbra. Both stores offer clothes, hats, gloves and umbrellas for your skin’s lovin’ care. Still not sold on the idea of wearing ultra high-tech sunscreen clothes? You’re in luck, because you can keep your wardrobe as it is, and with by just adding a small amount of RIT Sunguard to your next load of wash, you’ll turn your favorite Thomas Pink shirt into a life saving SPF 30 all day sunscreen.

Let’s face it: the polar ice caps are melting, Glacier National Park with be a sauna in ten years, and the sun ain’t our friend. With the continual depletion of the ozone, it is more and more important to take care of yourself when in the sun. UVA rays are active all day long. Don’t get caught in their way! Learn the facts, arm yourself, and keep stylish while staying safe. Most of all, get out there and enjoy your time in the sun–safely.

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