4 Ways To Enjoy The Sun Without The Sunburn
Anyone who has ever nursed sunburn will know exactly how quickly “just a little sun” can get out of hand. But it is tough to resist basking in the warmth especially if the past winter has been a rough one. Plus, sunlight boosts our levels of serotonin, which makes us happier and improves our overall well-being so why would we not want to be outdoors?
The smartest way to strike a balance between the good and bad effects of the sun is to protect yourself, even before stepping out of the house. This means knowing when to head out, what to wear and understanding your sunscreen.
Here are four safe ways to enjoy the sun without winding up with sunburn:
#1 Keep Your Hat On
Researchers at the University of North Carolina say that melanoma, the most dangerous of skin cancers, rarely begins on the scalp or neck but also warn that when it does, it can be twice as deadly than elsewhere. In other words, wear a hat in the sun.
Choose function over fashion and pick a hat made of tightly woven fabric or straw with a three-inch-wide brim and in a dark colour. For extra protection, look for a label that lists an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), the amount of UV radiation the fabric blocks. A UPF of at least 30 will keep you on the safe side.
#2 Understand Your Sunscreen
Forget sunscreen that has an SPF lower than 15 or that has passed its expiry date. The only benefit you will get from slathering it on is a light arm workout. Your choice of sunscreen should be based on two key factors – your skin type and environment.
If you have sensitive skin that burns easily, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. This same rule applies to older adults whose skin is extra sensitive. If you have dry skin, rub on a cream or lotion sunscreen. Those with oily skin or who plan to stroll or lie on the beach should use a gel that dries on the skin without leaving a film.
If you are expecting a full day out in the sun, then choose a sunblock like zinc oxide to prevent any sunlight from reaching your skin.
#3 Step Out When It Is Safe
The sun is at its strongest between 10am and 4pm, even on a cloudy day, so spend those six blazing hours in the protective shade. And before stepping out into a sunlit spot again, calculate how much UV exposure you are heading for by using the shadow rule: If your shadow is taller than you (early morning and late afternoon), it means your UV exposure is likely to be low. If your shadow is shorter than you (midday), it means you are likely being exposed to high UV levels.
#4 Avoid The Oils, Drink The Tea
Stay away from essential oils like bergamot, angelica and lemon verbena, which can increase sun sensitivity. The antioxidants packed into each leaf of green tea, on the other hand, have skin-protecting benefits so keep brewing those cups!
Had too much of a good thing, have you? Here are five easy remedies to soothe the burn.
Calendula cream. The bright orange flower calendula, also known as pot marigold, is anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the pain of sunburn. It is best applied as a cream or an ointment up to three times a day.
Sandalwood and turmeric. Mix equal amounts of powdered sandalwood and turmeric with a little cool water and apply the paste to the sunburn.
Black Tea. Apply cold, strong, black tea directly to sunburn with soaked cotton pads several times a day.
Aloe Vera Gel or Coconut Oil. Rub your skin with aloe vera gel or coconut oil for a cooling and rejuvenating after-sun treatment.
Cold milk. The quickest, simplest way to treat sunburn. Soak a piece of gauze or washcloth in cold milk, let the excess liquid drain off and drape it across your burn, pressing gently so it stays in place.
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