Sun-worshippers, wake up. Skin cancer is a scary reality, and excessive sun exposure and tanning is the leading cause of premature aging. Transform your take on tanning, avoid dangerous UV rays, and be responsible about how much time you spend in the sun.
Step 1. Repair and Rework Your Tan
- If you frequent the tanning salon, give it up immediately. Look at the tanning bed as a carcinogenic, a concentrated dose of dangerous UV rays at point-blank range.
- Repair damaged skin. Use a topical treatment that contains vitamin A.
- If you can't give up on that glow, opt for an alternative. Try bronzer. It will help you achieve a similar look without posing any of the cancer risks. Bronzers are a safe option because they sit on the top of the skin (as opposed to being absorbed by the skin).
Step 2: Limit Unprotected Sunbathing to 20 Minutes a Day
- Humans need the sun to get their daily dose of vitamin D, a vitamin so many Americans get so little of. But excessive sun exposure will cause damage.
- You can be in the sun, without sunscreen, for up to 20 minutes a day. After 20 minutes, you must apply sunscreen. Be generous and reapply after swimming or sweating profusely.
- Don't spend money on a sunscreen over SPF 30. There are no proven additional benefits of SPFs above that level.
- Bottom line: Do not spend hours in the sun.
Step 3: Be a Sunscreen Snob
- Not all sunscreens are created equal. The single best ingredient in a sunscreen is zinc oxide; the second best is titanium dioxide.
- Try a UV wristband. This is an inexpensive method of monitoring how often you need to reapply sunscreen. The band will change color when it's time.
To learn more about tanning, click here.