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The mid-west sun is brutal and unforgiving. Wearing sunscreen is vital to living a long and healthy life, as well as looking your best. Applying sunscreen seems simple enough, but there are many questions that people ask themselves, but rarely research and get the real answer. This results in the improper use of sunscreen and less than adequate protection.

Here are some frequently asked questions about sunscreen:

Who needs to wear sunscreen?
Everyone over 6 months old should use sunscreen every day. No matter what skin type or color you have, skin cancer is a threat and wearing sunscreen can lower your risk.  Especially in the mid-west, everyone should wear it, even if you are not planning on staying outside very long. It only takes a short time to have negative effects on your skin and health.

How often should I wear it?
Wear sunscreen every day. You should apply sunscreen as part of your daily routine even if you will be inside most of the day. You are exposed to harmful UV rays from the sun, even while behind glass in a vehicle. Reapply your sunscreen if you are about to go in the sun. Allow 15 minutes for it to soak into your skin. Always reapply after you have gotten wet or very sweaty.

What sunscreen is best?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you use sunscreen that is broad-spectrum. This means it will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF rating should be 30 or greater and the best sunscreen protection is from the water resistant type.

Can I use it every day, safely?
You have to weigh your options. According to the CDC, melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. Melanoma is deadly and should not be taken lightly. Although it is true that some studies have shown sunscreen is not healthy to use on a daily basis, you have to look closer at the risks and weigh them for yourself.

How can I protect my skin in other ways?
Sunscreen is only one way to protect your skin from the suns harmful rays. There are other things you can do, including:

  • Do not use tanning beds! They have been proven to be dangerous.
  • Tan by using products that darken the shade of your skin without lights or sunshine.
  • Wear a large brim hat, sunglasses, and clothing that covers your skin
  • Opt for shady areas to avoid the sun, if possible.
  • Use extra precautions while near water, snow, or sand because the UV rays reflect and intensify.
  • Wearing sun hats, sunglasses, long pants, long sleeved shirts
  • Staying in the shade, when possible between 10am and 2pm
  • Using extra protection when near water, snow, or sand, when UV rays are reflected and exposure is increased.
  • Eat plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables.
  • See a dermatologist if you notice anything on your skin that is suspicious or changes.

Stress and your skin

Stress is a sign of imbalance in your life. This may be caused by your health, relationships, work, or any number of internal or external factors. The lack of balance will show in your face, first, then it goes deeper and creates a change in all of your organs. The largest organ on the human body is skin.

Skin is a very sensitive organ. Stress has a profound effect on the appearance, texture, elasticity, and functionality of your skin. The slightest imbalance in fluid intake, sleep, diet, exercise, and hormones can mean big changes in your skin. Unfortunately, there are some things in life that create imbalance on a daily basis.

Here are some things you can do to protect your skin from stress.

Hydrate from the inside. You have all heard about drinking 8 glasses of water per day for good health. Well, heres another reason to drink enough water. Your skin will look younger for longer if you keep it hydrated properly. We dont even realize when we get dehydrated, until it has gotten to an extreme. A hot day, eating salty foods, or hormone imbalance can all create dehydration without warning. Before you know it your skin is losing its soft and supple feel, turning it dry and wrinkly. Dehydration will show in your face first.

Plenty of sleep. When we are young, we think we are invincible and dont need the proper sleep. As we get older, it is more obvious why we need to take the time to get a good night sleep every night. Sleep is important to all body function. If you dont get enough sleep, you can have appetite changes, hormone changes, and inflammation. The only thing that can cure a lack of sleep is SLEEP. No amount of caffeine will replace how sleep helps the body. You will still get the dark circles and puffy eyes from lack of sleep. There is a reason they call it beauty sleep.

Healthy and fresh food. The food you eat will show up on your face - literally. If you have ever seen the Netflix show where the guy eats only fast food for a month, the before and after pictures are astounding. He looks much different. Good healthy food gives your skin the nutrients it needs to stay flexible, bright, clear, and looking younger. Controlling your weight and eating healthy oils can help you look younger longer.

Exercise gives your skin life. Your skin has no choice but to do its job, protecting your insides from the bad stuff on the outside and trying to expel bad stuff that is on the inside. This isnt just about appearance; it is about health. We have a lymphatic system that only pumps one way out. It is how uour body gets the toxins out. Not eating toxins? Dont be too sure. Everything you eat and drink makes some kind of waste product that has to get out of your body somehow. Exercise is the only way to pump your lymphatic system and get those toxins out of your body. When they are gone, you look and feel better!