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Beautiful Tuesdays : Practice Safe Sun

May is national Skin Cancer awareness month. Expect to see a spike in skin cancer and sunscreen-related articles and content in women’s mags and in the beauty blogs. The May issue of Allure includes a ton of practical information and (of course) makes sun-related product suggestions.

For lots of us, summer weather means bearing our bods in bikinis, shorts and and sleeveless dresses. Women’s mags show bronzed babes on one page while admonishing us to wear sunscreen on another. Sorry to be a downer, but unless it comes from a spray, tube or bottle, tanned skin is bad news for the health and beauty of your skin.

Risking your looks and health for a tan?

You’re putting your skin at risk even if you never burn, or only hit the tanner before events like weddings or reunions. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “Ninety percent of visible skin changes commonly attributed to aging are really caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.Ultraviolet radiation (UV) accelerates the signs of aging, including wrinkles, leathering and fine lines.” Both UVB (the sun’s burning rays) and UV can cause basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma (the most deadly form of skin cancer).

Just the facts, ma’am

Here are some more sobering facts about skin cancer and women:

  • More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.
  • Current estimates are that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
  • Melanoma is increasing faster in females 15-29 years old than males in the same age group.
  • 70% of all indoor tanners are women.
  • The United States Department of Health & Human Services has declared UV radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogen.

Source: American Association of Dermatology, 2008

Enjoy the sun, but play it safe

Let’s be honest, warm sunshine feels good on your skin. Who wants sequester themselves inside all damn day? Not me. Thankfully, you can enjoy the great outdoors, as long as they are mindful about protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers the following tips to reduce the risk of sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer:

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tbsp) total of sunscreen to all exposed areas, 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of 6 months.
  • Examine your skin from head-to-toe every month. Here’s how.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam. (Find out how to get a free screening !)

Source: iVillage

Uh oh…bad news for gloss addicts

Anyone who’s planning on being outdoors for more than 20 minutes at a time should use a lip sun block with an SPF of 30. Apply it in the morning under your lipsticks or gloss and then reapply throughout the day.

Three lip blocks to try:

  • Banana Boat Aloe Vera Lip Balm, SPF 30
  • Clinique Lip/Eye SPF 30 Sun Block
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Stick SPF 50+

images by megelizabeth and cell

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6 comments for “Beautiful Tuesdays : Practice Safe Sun”

  1. so so helpful; i don’t like getting tanned (i find being geisha-pale complements my wardrobe nicely) but this is definitely getting printed for my more outdoor-friendly mates.

    Posted by belle | April 29, 2008, 3:55 pm
  2. belle, i’m not a tanner either. i embrace my pale skin and refuse to think of it as ‘pasty.’ glad you found this helpful!

    Posted by Kezia | April 29, 2008, 4:01 pm
  3. I am also a big anti-tanner/sun person. Having Irish fair skin doesn’t let me tan anyways and, growing up in Miami, I had to learn early that it’s best to avoid the sun. Now I’m big with the parasols.

    Plus it sets off my red hair nicely.

    Don’t forget sunglasses too with UV protection. If they don’t block the rays you are actually doing more harm by wearing sunglasses than going without because the darkness of the glass allows your retina to open wider and let in more bad rays. Also, don’t forget the babies and kids - they should wear proper eye and skin protection. Plus, keep em out of the sun from 10 - 3 or so.


    Posted by Poochie | April 29, 2008, 5:34 pm
  4. The best advice from my aunt (she wore gloves all the time…stuck in the 50s) said to always wear gloves, (ahem perhaps not) but since then I wear SPF30 hand lotion. all the time. all the time.
    great post, I love reading about sun and skin.

    Posted by meli | April 29, 2008, 9:09 pm
  5. Gloves are a great idea. I know Jennine loves vintage gloves. They let you look ladylike cool and keep your hands looking young.

    Posted by kezia | April 29, 2008, 10:25 pm
  6. i sure do! but you have to air them out a bit, because they tend to smelll… a little.

    but yeah, kezia keeps telling me about sunscreen on the hands. it is a good idea.

    Posted by jennine | April 30, 2008, 7:15 am

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