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Sun and your skin

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Updated: 4/16/2007 4:43 pm
Since many people enjoy being out in the sun, it's important to be aware of the dangers of sunburn and the subsequent problems that can arise from overexposure to the sun. Anyone can sunburn, so it's vital to wear sunscreen each and every time you're in the sun. Protecting the skin as a child and teenager can reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging as an adult by 80 percent. Shielding your skin from the sun can also reduce wrinkling. Harmful ultraviolet rays reflect off water and light colored surfaces such as concrete, sand, and snow, and can even reach below the surface of water, therefore, wearing water-resistant or waterproof sunscreens is a must. You should wear a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (S-P-F) of at least 15 and make sure that you are using enough. The average person often uses half the amount that the manufacturer used when determining the SPF (S-P-F). Apply sunscreen to your skin at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and re-apply it after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Remember to apply sunscreen generously to ears, lips, and exposed scalp. There are many different varieties of sunscreens such as sprays, gels, and lotions, as well as stick balms that are made especially for lips and ears. For extra protection from the sun, wear a hat, minimize your sun exposure, avoid tanning beds, wear protective eyewear, and be aware of certain medications that can increase your sensitivity to the sun. Understanding the effects of the sun on your skin can help you make wise choices when you're out enjoying the sun.
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