Healthy Habit 5 – Use sun protection every day to protect skin and maintain a healthy complexion. We’re pretty sure this doesn’t come as a surprise to you, after all, if you have children you make sure they’re protected from the sun don’t you? We all know we should but does it really make a difference? We wear it on holiday, isn’t that enough?

Well no, not really. There are many reasons that this is an important healthy habit to adopt. Not only will it protect you from harmful rays that may cause skin cancer, UV rays heat the skin causing it to make changes to protect itself that damage it irreversibly. If you have a paler complexion this is even more serious as your skin isn’t designed to tolerate high levels of sun and UV. Sun damage is caused by UVA and UVB rays. UVA is mainly responsible for ageing, UVB causes sunburn.

Myth busting

Many people seem to believe that wearing sun cream will prevent them from tanning but this is simply not true. Here’s how it works: A sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 means that it is designed to protect your skin for 15 times longer than you would normally take to burn without sunscreen. So, if you would normally catch the sun after 20 minutes in the sun, an SPF of 15 would protect you for 20 min x 15, or 5 hours. You will still be able to tan but you won’t cause the damage that leads to sunburn. The more quickly you burn the higher the SPF you would want to use. Don’t forget, if you are going in and out of the water you will need to apply more regularly.

Use Fake Tan instead

There are loads of great fake tans out there, so spare your poor face the damage caused by UV and keep skin protected. When you are 70 you will be glad you took our advice. UV is one of the worst causes of skin damage and fine lines and wrinkles. It is also really important to use sunscreen after intensive exfoliating treatments like microdermabrasion to prevent damage to that fresh, new skin.

If you need another reason

In our last healthy habits blog post we spoke about ‘glycation’. Glycation is a process whereby your body’s proteins can become damaged by advanced glycation end products (AGEs). In the skin, this is Collagen and elastin which help keep our skin looking youthful. Turns out, the rate of glycation is accelerated by exposure to UV further adding to the ageing process. Luckily, unlike natural ageing, these are factors in ageing we have some control over. So protect skin from sun damage and make sure you wear sunscreen!

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