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Essential facts on the Sun, Wrinkles, Tanning and Skin Cancer

Don't you just love being in the sun?  Don’t feel bad if your answer is yes; many people love the sun.  This is because one of the things the sun triggers is the production of endorphins - the brain’s happy drug.  The sun also helps with the production of vitamin D and can also help with a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder which is caused by a lack of sunlight in the winter.

So if the sun does some really good things, why does it get such a bad rep - is it really as bad as people say?  The answer is yes and for more reasons than you think.

Read more: The 3 Worst Reasons Not to Wear Sunscreen

Thinking people will completely stay out of the sun is not realistic. However, there are some facts and alternatives that you can do to feel good in the sun and have that “healthy glow” without the negative side effects and also help prevent wrinkles and skin cancer.

There is no better time than the middle of the winter to discuss the first and most important fact that many do not know:

1. UVA rays go through glass.  Yes, through your car window, your kitchen window or the window in the office.  It is for this reason that daily protection (indoor and outdoor) throughout the year is a necessity. - skincancer.orgHere is me back in summer, enjoying a little sun, with complete SPF 30 protection of course.

    Here is me back in summer, enjoying a little sun, with complete SPF 30 protection of course.

      Another important fact is beauty related.  The beauty industry is focused on repairing wrinkles and turning back the clock - but few talk about slowing down the clock and actually preventing further wrinkles which leads to our next fact:

      2. 90% of the changes to your skin that you attribute to aging are actually caused by the sun. - skincancer.org

        The sun causes wrinkles - plain and simple - if ever there were a more motivating fact to wear SPF 30 then this is it.  SPF 30 is the best anti aging product you can buy.

        Read more: The Myth of Parabens

        So what about a tan?  Many think a burn is bad but a tan is good.  Right?  The answer is no, not necessarily.  Here is another fact:

        3. A tan is not bad.  But, it is how you get the tan which can be very bad.  Any tan caused by the sun is because you radiated yourself.  Yes, this sounds bad because it is - UV rays stand for “ultra violet radiation” - and radiating yourself is bad.

        Years ago, it was a status symbol if you were fair because that meant you didn’t need to work in the fields and could stay inside.  Today, a tan is somewhat of a status symbol in that you can afford to go away on vacation or can afford the luxury of “relaxing in the sun”.

        A good alternative to get a tan include self tanners which do the same thing as the sun in that they raise the levels of melanin in your skin - but without the radiation.  Another option is a spray tan which has become very popular and with good reason - it looks natural.   However, you should be careful to protect your eyes, ears, nose and mouth, as the fumes were not meant to be ingested.  Do not let them spray your face - use a cream based self tanner instead for your face.

        So what’s worse than the sun?  A tanning bed.  How bad?  Really Bad.

        The FDA is proposing to ban the use for individuals under the age of 18.  You can read the FDA News Release here.

        Read more: New Industry Warnings on Spray Tans

        People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent. - Based on 7 worldwide studies - Skincancer.org

        Skin cancer is very common; can be very dangerous; and is not always the cut it out and you will be fine situation.  As one of the worlds most preventable cancers, education and prevention is key.

        For many, sun protection is part of a summer time routine.  Women, more so than men, will use sunscreen when they go to the beach/pool or when they are exercising outside.  Many use it because they don’t want to burn.  The reality is sunscreen and sun protection needs to be a part of everyone’s daily routine for health and beauty reasons.

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