Staying Skin Smart in the Sun

not just in the summer, but all year around.

Living in San Antonio weather brings with it some beauty and health challenges from head to toes — not just in the summer, but all year around. The following information can help you address these beauty challenges caused by exposure to the elements. Humidity here in sunny San Antonio can get you all frazzled. You can apply a frizz-fighting product and let your hair dry naturally. Beachy waves look fabulous, especially if the water is salty. Although blonde or highlighted hair with tanned skin simply screams summer, keep in mind that colored hair requires additional protection when in the sun to help prevent your hair from becoming dry and discolored. A deep-conditioning treatment, preferably once a week, is recommended for all hair types, particularly lightened hair exposed to sun, heat and wind.

Lemon juice squirted on your locks may slightly lighten them but will definitely dry them out.

Try slathering conditioner on your hair under a swim cap or immediately after getting out of the ocean or a pool.

Skin strategies include using a hydrating toner in the place of your moisturizer for a lighter, less greasy feeling. Try using a gel bronzer on your forehead, cheekbones and down the center of the nose, followed by a moisturizer. Maybe choose a shimmery powder on your eyelids, cheekbones, shoulders and collarbones for extra va-va-voom. This year’s trendy silvers would be perfect. Pop a bit of cream blush on the apples of your cheeks for a healthy glow. You might choose to use a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation. Summer clothing and activities — shorts, swimsuits, sandals, barefootin’ — demand additional grooming, since you’ll be exposing more skin. The pedicure is particularly important. Before you jump in feet first, give your feet and toenails a pickup by soaking them in a pan of water with a capful of household bleach for a few minutes. This will lighten your feet and whiten your nails. Next, use a foot cream to exfoliate and soften your feet. Then apply some warm body oil to the feet, especially the heels, wrap them in gauze and relax for 15 minutes. Finally, go for the gusto by painting your toes a bright color that will look great with your sandals and fun summer clothes.

Tanned skin looks terrific. Deep-fried, not so much. Nor does the resulting wrinkled, leathery skin — or skin cancer — we may experience later in life. There is no excuse for skipping the necessary precautions to help you avoid these consequences.

Start with sunscreen. Smear a shot glassful over your body, any place that will be exposed to the sun as well as those places not directly exposed. And don’t forget your eyelids and ears. Yes, damaging sun rays can get through your clothing — even your swimsuit. Sunscreens come in many forms — towelettes, topical lotions, creams, ointments, gel or spray and salves or sticks especially for your lips and nose. They can be found in drugstores, cosmetic counters, dermatologists’ offices — even your local convenience stores. Apply a “film” screen to windows in your car, office and home. Use LED light bulbs if you sit within a foot or so from the light source. Since UV levels increase about 4 percent per 1,000 feet of altitude, pull the shade on an airplane if you’re in the window seat. You do get some protection from an umbrella, but sand and concrete reflect a percentage of the UV rays, and water reflects almost 100 percent of the rays. The very lowest SPF recommended in your sunscreen products is SPF 30. For those considered to be at high risk for skin cancer, including those with a past history of skin cancer, those with extremely fair skin and light eyes, and those with many moles, the requirement becomes SPF 50 or above. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and every two hours thereafter.

You need to wear sunglasses, those that stop UVA and UVB rays at all times when you’re in the sun. You can even buy swim goggles with the protection against these rays.
Check out the growing selection of clothing, hats, swimwear, cover-ups and even fabrics with UPF ratings of 50+ to protect you from harmful UVA and UVB light. You can check online, but local sports stores seem to be carrying these now.

by Anne Moore

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