Sunday, July 29, 2012

I consider myself to be a professional at avoiding the sun.

So, in case you didn't know, I am a redhead.  And being a redhead comes with certain perks, like freckles, and certain pits, like sunburns.  Let's just say that I wish I knew then what I knew now.  And in an effort to make the world a better place I am going to teach you how to avoid the sun as well.

So, the sun is a good thing.  We need it to grow food and control the earth's temperature and all that.  But we don't need to expose our bare skin to it on a regular basis, at least, not with out protection.  You see, although you do need to go out in the sun at least once a day, to help regular sleep patterns and to keep you happy (being exposed to sunlight helps reduce happy hormones), there's really no benefit to exposing your skin to the sun.  Vitamin D, you say? Take the pill, no side effect of possible cancer.  Easy decision in my opinion.

So first of all, there IS  difference between sunSCREEN and sunBLOCK.  It's all in the name.  Sunscreen provides a screen of protection that allows some sun through.  Sunblock provides much more protection in an attempt to block the harmful rays from the sun.  I, as a fair-skinned person, use sunblock.  My more tan-prone friends prefer sunscreen.

Second, sunscreen/block doesn't work immediately.  It must soak into your skin to be effective, for at least 15 to 20 minutes. So if you're going to go out in the sun and you put it on when you get to the pool, or wherever, you will most likely damage your skin.  Don't blame the product; that's a user error.

Third, sunscreen/block is not a permanent/apply-once kind of thing.  Most outdoor events during the summer involve water, in the form of a pool or sweat.  And those remove the product over time.  So you must re-apply!  Play a sport outside for four hours and only applied it once at the beginning = sun damage! Not the product's fault; another user error.

Fourth, not all sunblock/screen is meant to go on your face.  It's worth it to buy one for the skin on your body and a smaller bottle specifically for your face (it will say on the bottle if it is face sunscreen/block).  It's just more sensitive up there and deserves special attention, in my opinion.  Can't find any or can't afford it? No worries, just use the regular stuff, but consider applying it more regularly as we often wipe our faces more often and remove the product quicker.

Fifth, use the spray.  It gets a better coverage, is quicker, less messy, and you're more likely to actually use it.  Don't waste your money on something you won't use.

Sixth, sunscreen/block EXPIRES! It should only be used for one summer because by the next year  it won't be as effective at protecting your skin.  Use old sunscreen and get burnt? Not the product's fault...user error!

Seventh, skin damage isn't limited to sunburns.  You can easily damage your skin even if you tan.  In fact, tanning is a form of skin damage.  You burn your skin and it turns brown; I burn mine and it turns red.  Either way, is is still burning.  Tanning is NOT healthy!!  Also, sun damage can turn up after you've left the sun. It's not always visible immediately.  So re-apply even if you're not changing colors yet.

Eighth, consider covering up.  Wear a T-shirt or shirts.  Buy a see-through cover-up to wear in the pool.  Buy a cute hat.  Any clothing you can wear to cover your skin will save your skin.  And there are definitely cute looks out there, even at Wal-mart.  I know, because I bought my swimsuit, tunic cover-up and straw hat all at Wal-mart for a grand total under $30.  And I can wear them again next year.

Ninth, skin-protecting products are hidden in every day things.  And this is mainly for women, but buy make-up with an SPF in it. Lotions too.  and Chap-stick.  Protect your skin everyday in every way.

Tenth, you can't avoid the sun completely, so don't become a hermit.  Just be smart.  You only get one skin and it has to last you your whole life.  This isn't only about vanity, because drying out your skin in the sun only make you look like leather over the years, but also about your health.  Your skin protects everything else inside you.  It's your first line of defense against disease.  Keep it healthy and you'll be more healthy over-all.

And just one more for a bonus, because I like your face, drink water!! Water keeps your skin moist and healthy too!

Ok, so that's all I got.  Ten Eleven tips to keep you safe from the damaging rays of the sun! Now its up to you! :)

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