Protection From the Sun for Your Skin

Is there such a thing as a healthy tan? While the allure of a bronze bod is strong this time of year, the long-term health benefits outweigh benefits short-term glam. The good news is that fair skin is in. Nicole Kidman proves how sexy pale can be in Moulin Rouge. A new crop of starlets shows fair beauty onscreen, too. Rachel McAdams, Scarlet Johansson, and Anne Hathaway will retain lovely looks for a long time by protecting their assets.

Everyone needs sunshine. It provides the critical element Vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. Sunlight also serves as a natural depression fighter. Over-exposure, however, leads to some serious health and beauty consequences. A tan is one of the first signs of skin damage. The skin produces more melanin to block out UV rays and prevent further harm. Repeated tanning results in “photo-aging,” accelerated aging in which UV rays create weaker connective tissues and thinner skin, as well as deep wrinkles, rough patches, liver spots, freckles, and fine red veins.

Not all damage is visible to the naked eye. UltraCam Skin Imaging and Analysis uses ultraviolet light to create a map of the skin to show what lies in the years to come. At Evanesque Laser Skin Care Clinic in Dallas, the UV photo allows the skin care expert to see the extent of sun damage and recommend appropriate repair measures. Oxygen-enhanced microdermabrasion can resurface skin and correct photo-aging. The Green Peel, an herbal facial peel, can also stimulate collagen growth and improve fine lines.

The best offense is a good defense. Dermatologists recommend SPF 15 of higher for daily wear. SPF is simply short for Sun Protection Factor. The number refers to a proportional relationship between the amount of time protected skin burns versus unprotected. If, for example, you usually start to redden after ten minutes outside, SPF 2 extends your protection for twice that tine, or twenty minutes. SPF 15 protects the same skin for 150 minutes. Of course, beach volleyball or splashing around in the pool requires more frequent reapplication.

The National Cancer Institute defines Ultraviolet (UV) radiation as “invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. UV radiation also comes from sun lamps and tanning beds. UVB rays are more likely than UVA rays to cause sunburn, but UVA rays pass deeper into the skin. Scientists have long thought that UVB radiation can cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer. They now think that UVA radiation also may add to skin damage that can lead to skin cancer and cause premature aging. For this reason, skin specialists recommend that people use sunscreens that reflect, absorb, or scatter both kinds of UV radiation.”

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