The sun may be a welcome sight in the sky, but it emits some very unwelcome radiation in the form of ultraviolet rays. If you're ready to enjoy some summer fun and you want to protect yourself against this danger without making yourself look silly in the process, here are some aesthetically-appealing ways to keep UV rays at bay.
Use UV-Blocking Cosmetics
To shield your skin against the damaging effects of UV-A and UV-B rays (the two kinds of ultraviolet rays that endanger people's health), you need to wear a sunscreen that blocks both and has an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating of at least 15. But if you think this means caking yourself with zinc oxide until you look like the stereotypical white-nosed pool lifeguard, think again. These days you can buy face makeup online or in stores that contains chemical sunscreen ingredients. UV-blocking moisturizers are also available. These products allow you to perfect your look even as you're protecting your skin.
The only downside to UV-blocking cosmetics is that they may not provide enough protection by themselves, partly because the coverage may be uneven and partly because only the face gets protected. To hedge your bets in the battle against sun damage, you need to layer your protection by first applying a clear sunscreen and then applying your UV-blocking makeup on top of it. This strategy helps to secure your long-term dermatological well being without spoiling your appearance in the here and now.
Wear UV-Blocking Sunglasses
No matter how thoroughly you apply your makeup, the thin, delicate skin around your eyes and on your eyelids can be especially vulnerable to UV rays. Eyelid cancer accounts for up to 10 percent of all cases of skin cancer, including squamous cell cancer, basal cell cancer and the deadly melanoma. But the solution to this frightening threat also happens to be one of the coolest fashion choices anyone can make. It's as easy as choosing (and then regularly wearing) the right pair of sunglasses.
Sunglasses don't just protect your eyes from the UV radiation that can lead to cataracts and other eye problems (although that would surely be reason enough to wear them), but they also protect the skin on the eyelids and around the eyes from that same radiation -- especially if they're wraparound sunglasses that block even more incoming light. Even so, you shouldn't just grab the first fashionable sunglasses you see. Check for a "UV 400" label; this label means that the sunglasses block all incoming light below 400 nanometers, the frequency range that includes UV-A and UV-B rays.
Invest in a Sun-Safe Wardrobe
Many people understandably choose their wardrobes based on seasonal colors, attractive combinations, the current fashion or irresistible bargain prices -- none of which has anything to do with how well those articles of clothing protect the skin against dangerous UV radiation. Fortunately, it's possible to make a fashion statement without also risking skin cancer. Start by paying close attention to the weave of the fabric. The tighter the weave and/or the more elastic the fabric, the smaller the gaps between threads, reducing your skin exposure. The colors you choose can make a difference as well. White clothing, for example, bounces a great deal of the sun's energy away from your body -- just keep in mind that some of those rays might be deflected toward your face, making the need for sunscreen and sunglasses even more urgent.
A broad-brimmed hat is another wardrobe choice that can preserve your health even as it enhances your looks. Look for a sun hat that claims to offer a UPF rating of 50 or better, and choose a downward-angled brim of at least 4 inches if you want to enjoy maximum protection even when the sun isn't directly overhead.
Try incorporating these tips into your cosmetic and fashion routine. You'll find that you look better than ever -- while enjoying the assurance that you're giving your skin what it needs to stay safe under the summer sun!