The Real Do's and Don'ts of Wearing Sunscreen

Forget everything you think you know about shielding your skin from the sun and the environment! According to Amy Chalmers, a USANA spokesperson, cosmetic dermal therapist and founder of Natural Skin Solutions, we've only got half of the information. (And even that may be questionable!) In a recent confab with the skin guru, I learned some cold, hard facts about UV rays: first, you can't escape them, and second, the sun actually breaks down your DNA. (Yes, that's as bad as it sounds.) However, when you're armed with the correct tools, you don't have to run and hide every sunny day.

Chalmers says that by boosting the skin's natural mechanisms and by wearing the right skin products, you can stop and reverse damage at a cellular level. If you want to save and restore natural skin tones and the softness of your skin, it may require a few changes in your diet, fashion choices, and skin treatments. It's time to open those medicine cabinets and bathroom cubbies; we've got to examine your current skin protection products.

Sunblock vs. Sunscreen

You'll need to apply sunblock -- not sunscreen!
Here's what I learned from my conference with Chalmers: You don't need sunscreen. You do need sunblock and no, they are not the same. Sunscreen is often loaded with chemicals that can trash the top layers of your skin. Instead of sunscreen, you need a sunblock that contains minerals, antioxidants and moisturizers. You have to boost the skin topically to get an adequate level of sun protection, so look for products that have added vitamins. Topical vitamin applications are proven to be effective for fending off UV rays. But the big takeaway is this: zinc-based sunblocks are the best. Zinc formulas naturally reflect the sun's rays. (Note to self: Must have zinc sunblock!)

Eating for Your Skin

Another way to boost that sun protection is by empowering your skin's performance with a good supply of vitamins. Did you know that vitamins A and D can build up in the skin, but C and E deplete daily? That means you must gnosh on a variety of fruits and veggies regularly, and not just your favorite five! You need to indulge in a rainbow of fresh, vitamin-rich foods. It's best to select foods from the whole, healthy color wheel.

Sport Protective Hats

Make a fashion statement on behalf of your skin.
One thing that Chalmers hopes is that more women take on the role of influencer within their circle of friends, at least in regards to sun protection. She says, "Be a leader amongst your friends. Set the trend by sporting colorful sunhats. Make it okay to be a hat person!" We should initiate a conversation about sun protection and encourage our family and friends, too. It's a chat worth having!

Seek a Practitioner

As a cosmetic dermal therapist, Chalmers spends a lot of time coaching women and treating specific skin-related issues. She encourages women to seek skin care practitioners for their specific, individual needs. Chalmers encourages women to visit holistic dermatologists, practitioners in natural paths, or cosmetic dermal therapists. (It's on my list!)

So bring on the summer sun! Are you ready?