How to prevent excessive sun exposure for healthier skin

October 2, 2015

If you love sunbathing or make an effort to maintain a golden-bronze tan, you've unwittingly contributed to the aging of your skin. Sunbathing destroys the elastic fibres that keep skin looking firm and smooth. That leads to earlier wrinkles, blotches, freckles and discolourations. More importantly, sunburns contribute significantly to cancers of the skin Using tanning beds doesn't, as advertisements suggest, build up a "safe" base tan — it raises your risk for skin cancer and wrinkles. Here are some more tips on preventing excessive sun exposure.

How to prevent excessive sun exposure for healthier skin

Why prevention is important

  • Sun exposure, especially if your quest for the perfect tan has left you sunburned, damages skin in ways that cannot be repaired.
  • There's plenty you can do to prevent further damage — and to spot skin cancers in their earliest, most treatable stages.

Benefits of reducing sun exposure

  • Protecting your skin results in softer, suppler skin with fewer wrinkles and less discolouration.
  • The main advantage is your lowered risk for skin cancer.

Repair plan

  • Schedule an annual skin check with your dermatologist.
  • Your doctor will inspect you for moles, growths, and any other unusual skin changes.
  • If any are spotted, your doctor likely will test a small sample to determine the nature of the growth.
  • Ask your family doctor and gynecologist to be on the lookout for suspicious moles, too.

Sip green tea

  • There is some evidence that polyphenols in green tea may protect your cells against cancer-causing sun damage.

Get your glow from a self-tanning product instead of the sun

  • Tanning creams and gels can give your skin a bronzed look without the cancer risk.

At the beach, wear a sun-protection water shirt

  • Surfers do. They are the equivalent of a high SPF sunblock lotion, and they don't wash off in water!

Always wear sunscreen when outdoors

  • Keep high SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreens by your back door, in your car, in your purse, or anywhere else handy.
  • Get in the habit of spending the 30 seconds it takes on the way out the door to rub some on your face, scalp, and exposed arms and legs.

Know a danger sign when you see it

  • Know a danger sign when you see it. melanoma may be blackish/brownish with irregular edges — but it could also be red, pink or waxy, or it could be a sore that just won't heal.
  • Other warning signs include itching, bleeding, sensitivity to touch, or obvious growth.
  • Basically, anything that doesn't look right to you on your skin deserves to be checked by a doctor.

Stay safe in the sun

  • Stay in the shade or wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants during peak sunburn hours, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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