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Good to Glow: Our Sun-Safety Skin Guide

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Follow our guide to sun-safe, happy skin and you'll be golden.

When You Need to Use Sunscreen

It's okay to love the sun (we do too!). But how protected is your skin? Not so much, surveys show. Only one-third of us regularly slather on sunscreen, despite the fact that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer, says Jeanine Downie, MD, a dermatologist in Montclair, New Jersey. Even scarier: Melanoma, the deadliest form, more than doubled in the last three decades among women under 40. If you regularly reach for sunscreen, bravo! You're cutting your risk of cancer and preserving your skin. If your SPF is MIA, we've got a plan to bust your excuses, plus loads of tips and tricks that will give you a healthy glow -- for life.

The Golden Rules of Gorgeous Skin

Memorize this short list to keep your skin safe -- and young looking.

Slather on sunscreen...

  • 365 days a year. UVB rays (they burn you) peak in June, but UVA rays (they age you) stay constant year-round.
  • Rain or shine. Forty percent of UV rays penetrate skin on cloudy days.
  • At least every 90 minutes when outdoors; immediately after a swim.
  • 30 minutes before going outside, to allow ingredients to activate.

The 411 on SPF

SPF 15 was once the standard dermatologist recommendation for daily sunscreen. But many doctors say SPF 30 is the new 15. "Most people don't use enough sunscreen. Unless you always apply the correct amount -- a teaspoonful for the face and an ounce for the body -- you don't get the level of protection listed on the label," says Dr. Downie. Increasing the SPF helps compensate for a light-handed approach. Another reason to go higher: Although no sunscreen shields you from 100 percent of UV light, SPF 30 offers 96.5 percent protection versus SPF 15's 93.5 percent -- and more protection (even just 3 percent) is always a bright idea when it comes to safeguarding your skin.

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