Can you feel the heat waves coming on? Well, that is part of living in the Gulf and there is no escaping it. And it seems that no matter how often we are warned about the dangerous of basking in the sun, many of us will be spending our coming days under the rays. Whether you are spending a day at the beach or driving in your convertible, going out without applying sunscreen is asking for trouble.
Research has proved that over time being exposed to the sun-rays increases your risk of developing skin cancer, wrinkles, skin aging spots, eye problems and dry damaged hair.
So if you want to have your time in the sun and still look good and healthy during the long hot months ahead, you’ve got to learn the golden rules and know what the UV terms stand for.
SPF (sun protection factor) the number on a sunscreen indicates how much longer you can stay out in the sun without burning while wearing the product. For summer you shouldn’t apply anything below SPF15, and for very hot summers you should aim for SPF 25.
Water-resistant sunscreen can retain its SPF protection after 40-minute swim.
Waterproof sunscreen can maintain its SPF protection after an 80-minute swim.
UVA (ultra violet rays that ages skin) these are the longer “tanning” rays of the sun that penetrate deeply into the skin.
UVB (ultra violet rays that can burn the skin) these are shorter more intense rays that can cause serious burns and are most heavily implied in causing skin cancer, there for protection against UVB is so crucial.
Don’t count on clothes to protect you completely. The sun-rays can penetrate many fabrics. The best clothes to wear should be tightly woven, loose fitted and in bright colors or white. And it is best applying sunscreen generously half an hour before getting dressed giving you protection from the minute you walk out the door.
You should reapply sunscreen every two hours when you are out doors or at the beach and be careful to protect sensitive skin zones like your nose, cheekbones, ears, shoulders and even your lips.
Our eyes are also very sensitive to the sun-rays; so don’t forget to cover them with the right shades. For maximum protection for all out door activities use special purpose shades, they block at least 99% of UVB rays and 60% of UVA rays. And try not to apply sunscreen products near your eyes, especially if you have sensitive skin, it may cause stinging and burning.
If you think you have it made in the shade sitting under an umbrella think again. Umbrellas don’t offer full protection; you can still get burned from the sun reflected off the sand.
And all you boaters out there be ware. Sun reflected off water doubles your burning potential so use a high SPF.
Do remember the slower you tan the healthier your skin stays and the longer it will take to peel. Crash tanning gets you nowhere, trying to develop a fast color is not only very dangerous and also it won’t get you far. Usually the color you develop from staying too long under the sun is mostly redness as the skin begins to burn (even if you don’t feel a burning sensation). Believe it or not the color we get from the sun is genetically programmed, so even if you crash tan or take it gradually you will end up with the same color.
With a big variety to choose from you are bond to find a sunscreen that protects your skin against the harmful rays of the sun.
Women as well as men should take extra care of their hair in the summer as the sun-rays can damage and de-colorize hair pigments.
If you’ve got blond or red hair the sun can give it beautiful highlights, but it may also get greenish from chlorine and salt water. Aim to wash your hair at least once a week with a shampoo designed to remove chlorine residue.
If you have brown hair, try to get more head cover as the sun may give you reddish orange highlights. To prevent hair from becoming brassy, try coating it with a styling product containing sunscreen.
If you’ve got permed or color-treated hair it might become very dry, brittle and frizzy. Also it may over lighten form the sun and discolor from chlorine and salt water. Overcome dryness by leaving in conditioner after rinsing or using screen cream.
For curly and thick hair that might become wild and unruly in hot humid weather it is best to switch to a moisturizing shampoo and keep hair well conditioned.
As for thin and fine hair that allows sun to penetrate to the scalp causing sunburning, and may become limp in humid weather. Try wearing a hat while outdoors and use a deep cleansing shampoo and body building conditioner.
Care for your swimwear
You have finally bought that great swimsuit you have wanted; now learn how to care for it and it will last longer and keep its shape for summers to come.
Your suit soaks up chlorine, salt water, body perspiration, sunlight, and sunscreen lotion all things that can damage it.
So rule number one is to wash your suit every time you wear it. If you can’t wash your suit immediately after wearing it, at least rinse it in clean cool water.
Read the label on your swimsuit it will tell you if it should be hand washed or you can use machine wash.
If your suit can be machine-washed turn it inside out and put the machine on gentle cycle using cold water and cold rinse.
The best way though is to wash your swimsuit separately by hand, using cold water and mild detergent made for hand washing fine fabrics. First let your suit soak for a few minutes then gently squeeze the suds through the fabric, and lightly rub the suit against itself. Finally rinse it several times in cool clear water.
Let your suit dry in a shady cool place away from heat or direct sunlight laying it down on a towel or on a non-metal hanger. For a quick dry, place the suit in front of a fan.
When summer is over store your suit in its own plastic bag making sure it’s clean and dry before doing so. This will keep it fresh and clean for summers to come.
Now that you know it all, put on your sunscreen, hat and swimsuit and have a great carefree summer.