The days of endlessly lying in the sun slathered in baby oil in order to gain an all-over tan are no longer here. It is now understood how important responsible sunbathing is to reduce the chances of sunburn, skin cancer and premature ageing. Although responsible sun-seekers can no longer bake to their hearts content, there are ways and tricks to still enjoy the sun, get some colour and not place your health in danger.
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When sunbathing, sunscreen should be your closest and dearest companion. There are a million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year, according to Web MD. Wearing a sunscreen with skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 is a major defence strategy against cancer. Reapply sunscreen every two hours -- especially if you are sweating or swimming, because water dilutes and reduces the effectiveness of sunscreen. Make sure you replace your bottles of sunscreen often, paying attention to expiration dates.
The sun can be damaging to your eyes while you sunbathe. Invest in a pair of wraparound-style sunglasses. Cataracts and macular degeneration and cancer of the eyelids can occur from sunbathing without sunglasses or with the wrong kind of sunglasses. The lenses of the glasses you choose should be amber or neutral grey. They should also advertise and provide 100 per cent UV protection.
The skin on your face is delicate. Wearing a hat with a wide brim can prevent ageing and wrinkling caused by the sun. The brim on your selected hat should be 2 to 3 inches wide.
The colour you can achieve from responsible sunbathing is sufficient. You don't need and should not use tanning pills that advertise the ability to increase colour and speed up your tanning process. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any kind of tanning pill. A chemical called canthaxanthin is the active ingredient in tanning pills. Canthaxanthin can produce a range of colour in your skin from orange to brown. There have also been health scares related to the use of these products, making it best to steer clear of them as you seek sun exposure.
Responsible sunbathing includes being aware of and regularly checking your skin for any signs of sun damage. If you notice changes in the appearance, size, colour or shape of moles or birthmarks, consult with your physician to rule out skin cancer. Also remain aware of any sores that are not healing.
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