A tan can give you the appearance of an even
skin tone, but not without a price. Frequent
tanning can cause long-term damage to your
skin and accelerate signs of aging such as
fine lines and wrinkles.
that mean you should never leave home
without your SPF 15?
The short answer is no.
It's become rather popular for cosmetics
sellers to push the idea that the only way
to protect your skin is to use sunscreen
every morning (or a moisturizer that
includes SPF 15, etc). They want you to
believe that any UV exposure at all is a bad
thing. It's not.
Yes, excess UV radiation is harmful and can
cause some serious problems such as skin
cancer. However, the fact is that most of
us don't get enough sun.
The medical problems related to lack of sun
exposure (and lack of vitamin D) are both
far more common than those caused
by too much sun, and far more
dangerous. Skin cancer is bad, but
it is rarely fatal. Several of the diseases
linked to vitamin D deficiency are more
deadly (other forms of cancer, heart
disease...), and many can lead to a life of
discomfort (such as with osteoporosis).
Ailments resulting from lack of vitamin D
are often difficult to heal, and there is no
more effective or more natural way to get
enough vitamin D than to go outside.
Especially today, too many of us sit in
front of our computers and TVs for hours on
end, never getting much sun exposure at all.
Never before in history have so many humans
spent so little time under the sun.
least 15-20 minutes of sun 4 days per week,
without the sunscreen
Sunlight powers the production of vitamin D
within your body. This is the most effective
way to get it. It is nearly impossible to
get enough vitamin D from your diet. You
would have to drink 4-10 glasses of milk
every day to get the same minimum amount
(and if you have acne, you shouldn't be
consuming that much dairy).
What about supplements? Although an inferior
source of the vitamin, they can help, but be
aware that you're missing out on the other
benefits of sun exposure. For instance, a
healthy level of sunlight enhances both blood
circulation and skin exfoliation. This is why many acne sufferers
find that blemishes heal faster after
getting some sun.
use sunscreen when you know you'll be
spending a long time outdoors
I'm not a big fan of sunscreen in general.
It's often loaded with undesirable chemicals
(the tiny bit of aloe they toss in doesn't
amount to much) and can end up clogging your
pores and actually causing acne. Even a weak
SPF 8 can block as much as 95% of your
body's ability to produce vitamin D.
However, if you're going to the beach or
doing something that you know will keep you
out in the sun for a long time, then by all
means use it.
The occasional use of sunscreen is fine, and
certainly preferable to damaging your skin
if the day's activities would otherwise give
you a sunburn. Of course, your complexion
also plays a role in how much sun is healthy
for you. Fair-skinned people burn more
easily and require less sunlight to produce
their needed quota of vitamin D. Those with
darker skin don't burn as easily, but can
require a much longer period of sun exposure
to produce the same amount of vitamin D.
So don't turn to tanning as an acne cure
(it's not), but don't be paranoid about
exposing your skin to the sun either.
Chances are you could use a little more
sunshine in your life.