April 29, 2009

1. Wear Sunscreen Everyday

About 80 percent of the average person's lifetime sun exposure is incidental-which means it occurs during daily activities, not lying on the beach. If you're planning on being out in the sun for longer than 15 minutes, make sure to use a sunscreen with SPF 30. If you use a moisturizer, save a step and use a moisturizer with SPF.

2. Protect Your Eyes

One of the first areas to show signs of aging, the skin around the eyes needs extra hydration even if the rest of your face doesn't. Sunglasses help shield the skin around your eyes from skin-aging UV rays. Opt for a pair clearly labeled to block 99 percent of UV rays. Wider lenses best protect the delicate skin around your eyes.

3. Moisturize Your Lips-They Age Too!

The truth is that most of us neglect our thin-skinned lips when it comes to the sun's rays-leaving our lips particularly vulnerable to painful sunburns and the lip lines and wrinkles associated with aging. Remember to always apply (and reapply at least every hour) a lip-protection balm.

4. Try on UPF Clothing for Size

These garments have special coating to help absorb both UVA and UVB rays. As with SPF, the higher the UPF (which ranges from 15 to 50+), the more the item protects. Regular clothes can shield you, too, provided they're made of tightly woven fabrics and are a dark color.

Example: a dark-blue cotton T-shirt has a UPF of 10, while a white one ranks a 7. To test clothing UPF, hold the fabric near a lamp; the less light that shines through the better. Also, be aware that if clothes get wet, protection drops by half.

5. Watch the Clock

UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Tip: Check your shadow. If it's very short, it's a bad time to be outside.) If you're out during these hours, stay in the shade under a beach umbrella or a big leafy tree.

6. Cover Your Head-with a Hat

Choose a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all around to protect the skin on your face, ears, and neck from the sun.

The Expert Says: "Every 2 inches of brim lowers your skin-cancer risk by 10 percent."-Darrell Rigel, M.D., Clinical Professor of Dermatology, New York University.

7. Sunscreen...Again

Reapply, reapply, reapply! No sunscreen is completely waterproof, sweatproof, or rubproof.

To help you know when it's time to reapply or get out of the sun, try Sunspots. These nickel-size yellow stickers can be applied to your skin under sunscreen before you go out in the sun. Once they turn orange, it's time to reapply.