Did you know that sun exposure is the major reason for aging? Nothing else makes you age so fast as the sunlight does! Therefore, if want to loo slow down your aging and look younger, the first and foremost step you need to take is protect your skin from the sun.

Let’s start from the basic sun protection, and then we’ll give you some more advanced protection tips. These guidelines are adapted from the recommendations of American Cancer Society on ‘How do I protect myself from UV rays?’

Basic Sun Protection

  • If you need to be outdoors, avoid sun exposure between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the UV radiation for the sun is the strongest.
  • Always wear non-transparent protective clothing covering as much of your body as possible.
  • Seek Shade. During the day time, whenever possible, stay in the shade.
  • Wear a hat with wide brims (minimum 2-3 inches) to protect scalp, ears, face and neck from direct sunlight.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and the delicate under eye area.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15+ to all uncovered parts of your body (like face, neck, hands, toes etc.)
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20-30 min before going outdoors. This is especially important for chemical sunscreens (physical ones act faster), which need ~20-30 min to get absorbed by the skin and start protecting it.
  • If swimming or other water exposure is expected, reapply the sunscreen frequently (ideally every 30 min, but at least every 2 hours). Be generous – you need at least 30 ml (1 ounce) of sunscreen to properly cover all your body.

Now that you know the ‘must do’ sun-protective measures, consider also the following advanced guidelines to assure the best sun protection of your skin and body:

Advanced Sun Protection

  • Protect your skin indoors. Apparently  UV light consists of UVA and UVB rays. UVB, which is mostly responsible for tanning, is blocked by normal (transparent) windows, whereas UVA, which causes skin aging and may lead to skin cancer, is NOT blocked by the windows. So even if you spend the whole day indoors, use sun protection measures similar those for outdoors (i.e. wear protective clothing and sunscreens).
  • Use sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB lights and which are compatible with your skin (i.e. give no adverse reactions). For sensitive and very light skin you need to use sunscreens with SPF at least 30.
  • Make sure your sunglasses block both UVA and UVB and are sufficiently big to cover the sensitive under eye area.
  • Eat appropriate diet that enhances sun protection (e.g., omega-3-rich fish, red and orange fruits and vegetable, dark chocolate, green tea). In addition, consume supplements that contain carotenoids and lycopene.
  • Get enough of Vitamin D.  Apparently, our body needs sun to synthesise vitamin D, but not as much as many people think – only an hour a week is enough. If you don’t get even that little exposure to the sun, no worries – all you need is a diet or supplements which include enough vitamin D.

To summarise, the sunlight is the primary factor causing our aging and skin cancer. So if you only decide to go for a basic skin care regimen, the sun protection is a must-do.

If you want to know how to choose the right sunscreen for your skin and how to correctly apply sunscreen for maximum protection – stay tuned for our next articles.

Skin Care Guide Part 5 – How to Choose Sunscreen?

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