Soak Up the Sun — Safely

With Riverside’s close proximity to hiking trails, the beach and Disneyland, CBUstudents have numerous opportunities to take advantage of the summer rays. However, sunlight can be damaging to the skin and can dry it out. Taking certain precautions can reduce the risk of encountering these problems this summer.

Most people know that when they get a sunburn, they have overdone their amount of sun exposure. A sunburn is one sign of skin damage, but you do not need burns to have harmed your skin. Even a mild suntan is evidence of damaged skin.

According to MedlinePlus.com, the National Institute of Health’s website for patients, the best ways to protect yourself are, “staying out of the sun when it is strongest (from 10 a.m to 4 p.m), use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher” and “wearing protective clothing.”

The website also recommends wearing sunglasses while outside, as sun exposure can also harm the eyes.

Not abiding by these rules can result in wrinkles and skin diseases such as melanoma. MedlinePlus recommends checking your skin regularly, for new or changed moles or spots, for evidence of skin cancer. Any skin damage increases the aging process.

Those looking to tan without the direct sun exposure might turn to tanning beds as a solution, but tanning beds are just as bad, if not worse, as direct exposure to the sun. Tanning beds are a concentrated source of UV radiation that can also lead to skin damage.

According to the American Association of Dermatology, “studies have found a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning.”

As reported by ABC news, in 2011, the state of California passed a law that prohibits minors from using tanning beds. Previously, they could if parental consent was obtained.

The key to good skincare is balance. While sun exposure can damage the skin, it is also a source of the essential vitamin D, though this nutrient can also be obtained through food, sun exposure can be useful if proper care is taken to prevent the damage it can cause.

When swimming, sunscreen should be applied every few hours, especially after toweling. The same goes for running or any other vigorous outdoor activities that cause sweat.

Wearing a hat or other kinds of protective clothing can also offer additional protection, as can using an umbrella to block the sun while outside. Some makeup, such as powders or foundations, contain SPF, and can be used in addition to regular sunscreen.

While SPF 15 is the minimum amount recommended for sunscreen, the site EverydayHealth.com recommends opting for up to SPF 100, especially when outside all day. During hours when the sunlight is most direct, it is better to stay indoors or in shade.

However, the sun is not the only danger for skin during the summer. Dry and cracked skin can also be a problem for many people.

To combat this, regular exfoliation with special creams and washes can be a great way to get rid of dead and dry skin cells. WebMD.com cautions that “less is more” when it comes to exfoliation, so do not overdo it.

The site stresses the importance of moisturizing dry winter skin as summer approaches. It recommends using a liquid moisturizer for mild dry skin and a cream moisturizer for skin that needs more attention. There are also tinted moisturizers on the market that can offer color and foundation while simultaneously healing dry skin.

Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water during the summer months is very important and a great way to keep your skin in shape.

MayoClinic.com recommends for men about “three liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day…for women about 2.2 liters (about nine cups) of total beverages a day.”

California’s summers should be enjoyed, but they can be unkind to skin without the proper protection. By using sunscreen, moisturizer, exfoliation and other precautions, you can protect yourself from the elements and soak up the rays at the same time.

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