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7 New Ways to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

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We know you love to exercise outdoors, and hey, you shouldn't have to hide from the sun. Here's how to keep your skin healthy, radiant, and wrinkle-free when you play outside.

Everyday Skin Protection

1. Take sun warnings seriously.

A recent survey from the Skin Cancer Foundation showed that 34 percent of women never use sunscreen. And according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this year, adults are also skipping super-simple strategies, such as wearing sun-protective clothing or choosing the shade instead of a sunny spot. Even the number of sunburns is on the rise. Why the who-cares attitude? "People don't want to let concerns about sun exposure interfere with their outdoor activities," says Allan C. Halpern, MD, chief of dermatology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Protection suggestion: Change your attitude -- think of sunscreen as something that allows you to have fun in the sun safely. Find products that mesh with your lifestyle. Besides sunscreen, look for innovations like SPF 15 body wash from By142 ($34, by142.com). Buy a beach umbrella to create your own shade. Also consider using a laundry additive like SunGuard ($1.99, sunguardsunprotection.com), which adds UPF 30 (ultraviolet protection factor) to your clothing, including your favorite bikini or cover-up (an untreated plain white tee has a weeny UPF 7).

 
2. Wear SPF 30 every day -- it's more important than ever.

Why? Because Earth's natural "sunscreen" has thinned. NASA scientists have discovered a reduction of global aerosols -- the blanket of particles (aka air pollution) that circle the earth and help block UV rays -- according to a 2007 study published in the journal Science. The decline has been steady since 1991. The skimpier the "blanket" gets, the warmer Earth becomes; some scientists speculate that it's a factor in global warming. The thinning may also hurt your skin by allowing more sunlight to penetrate. "Less pollution means more crystal-clear days -- and more incidental sun exposure," points out Darrell Rigel, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.

Protection suggestion: Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day, throughout winter, spring, summer, and fall, and be sure to reapply if you're outside longer than an hour, no matter what you're doing.

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