Saturday 23 May 2009

The Single Most Important Beauty Secret!

Many of us prepare for time in the sun by grabbing a
swimsuit, a towel, and a tube of sunscreen from the
assortment on the bathroom shelf. But such an offhand
approach to sun exposure can lead to progression of a
sunburn, such as sun-damaged skin with serious long-term
consequences that include premature aging of the skin and
increased risk of cancer.

Protecting your skin can be as simple as good sunscreen,
great cover-ups, and knowing when to take a time-out. So
where does the confusion come from? First, you need the
right sunscreen. Sun protection is based on blocking out
as much of the sun's intense ultraviolet light as possible.
Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which
mainly affect the topmost levels of skin. The sun
protection factor (SPF) you see listed on sunscreen bottles
is a measure of protection against these UVB rays. But
ultraviolet A (UVA) rays penetrate deeper, altering cell
structure, darkening skin, and weakening its immune system.

Sunscreens commonly promote the SPF factor. The higher the
number, the greater the protection against burning UVB
rays. And the high for UVB protection has just been raised
to 50+, which is good news. But it's also important to get
protection from damaging UVA rays. Now sunscreens will
also carry a one- to four-star rating system for UVA

But sunscreen is only as good as its last application.
Studies have shown that people apply sunscreen with a
dangerously sparing touch. The rule of thumb is an ounce
for the average adult. Work it in well before going out
into the sun and reapply every couple of hours — or
more often if you get wet or sweat.

I tell my clients sunscreen is not like plaster. It won't
just stay on your skin.

It won't last forever in storage either — sunscreen
can expire. Many sunscreens have a chemical base. Those
chemicals break down over time. So you may want to
reconsider the bottle that's been rolling around in your
trunk for a few years.

Even used properly, repeatedly and in a timely fashion,
sunscreen isn't an all-day pass to Sun City, and it can't
protect against all of the sun's harmful rays.

For the most complete sun protection, put on more clothes
— and not just any clothes. If your cover-up is an
over washed T-shirt or a wisp of gauze, don't assume it
will protect you; a cotton shirt rates only SPF4. Instead,
invest in some sun-protective clothing — look for the
ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating — and a
UPF laundry rinse to boost protection for other clothes. A
broad-brimmed hat will trump a baseball hat or golf visor,
and UVA/UVB-rated sunglasses will protect your eyes.

Finally, take a time-out. Because ultraviolet rays are
strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., even on overcast days,
schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day.
Seek shade. And if you can't avoid the sun, try to limit
the amount of time you're outdoors during peak hours.

Protect your skin, and your health, by playing it safe in
the sun.

About the Author:

John Russell of IH Distribution, LLC brings you health,
anti-aging and skin care products from around the world.
Find fabulous skin care tips and great articles on a wide
range of topics for women at

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