Summer sun safety

June 3, 2010

We are beach sound for vacation super soon and in doing so we know that not only are we having (getting!) to pack all sorts of fun dresses, espadrilles, bikinis, rompers and sunnies, we’re doing our best to hear our mothers’ words of wisdom when it comes to fun in the sun: wear sunscreen!

Naturally, when Women’s Health magazine sent us over some of their best SPF tips, we knew it was high time we share them with our lovely readers as we all embark upon sun-filled summers. (By the way, Women’s Health is fast becoming one of our favorite magazines. We had always coveted our time with Vogue, SELF, Glamour and Elle, but are totally loving WH of recent. If you don’t read it, pick up a copy one of these days. We promise you’ll like it!)

So without further or due…

1. Protect from the Inside Out

Sun damage causes free radicals, which all edible antioxidants fight. Some work better at protecting against the sun’s rays. Your best bites are reddish-orange foods that are high in lycopene, such as tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricots, and papayas, and foods and beverages that are rich in flavonoids, such as green tea and dark chocolate. You’ll need at least 10 weeks of daily ingestion to optimize the benefits.

2. Seek Shades

Ultrastylish oversize sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. They also shield the paper-thin skin around your eyes from dangerous UV damage (5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers appear on the eyelids) as well as the formation of fine lines and crow’s-feet. More important, sun exposure can affect the eye itself (specifically the cornea, lens, and retina), causing cataracts and macular degeneration over time.

3. Sport SPF-WEAR

Bikinis are de rigueur pool- and beachside, but they provide little sun protection. If you’re going to be in the water, take a cue from the world’s sexiest surfer girls and rock a rash guard. The fabric in Letarte rash guards has a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 50-plus, which blocks 98 percent of harmful UV rays.

The truth is, all clothing has a sun protection factor, but it’s not enough to combat summer sun. The lighter the clothing color, the less it shields. A white T-shirt has an SPF of 4 to 6, while a black one has 9 or 10. However all washables can have a UPF of 30: Just add a packet of SunGuard ($2; sunguardsunprotection.com) to your laundry during the wash cycle. Pretty cool, huh?

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photo courtesy of Women’s Health

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