Cold or Cloudy? The Sun Can Still Harm Your Skin

Even through the clouds, UVA and UVB rays are shining through. In the fall and winter, it’s still just as crucial to protecting your skin from harmful rays. Here are some tips for keeping your skin healthy and young, despite those nasty rays.

Above Your Head

In the spring and summer, we tend to have more headwear options that protect your face. In the winter, you can’t get away with a straw, large-brimmed sombrero. It will either fly away or freeze and crack to pieces. Besides, it might look a bit silly out of season.

You can get away with wearing a baseball cap all year long, pretty much. That will provide warmth and cover your forehead and nose from dangerous rays. A ski cap or wool beanie has a cute, sporty look that keeps your noggin’ comfy, but your face is still exposed. If you’re not wearing a full-face ski mask (and doubtful you are for fear you’ll be arrested as a bank robber), then you need to find alternate protection.

Skin Protector Tips

You may have noticed that the term “sunblock” hasn’t been used in a while. That’s because there really is no way of fully blocking the sun’s rays from our skin (unless you’re indoors, away from a window.) The lotions and sprays may only be termed “sunscreen.” The FDA has also come down hard on the term “broad spectrum.”

Broad spectrum must actually protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the ones responsible for making us look older and causing skin cancer. UBV rays turn our skin red and can give us a burn.

Just So Ya Know

The initials SPF stand for sun-protection-factor. In Europe, they cap SPFs at 50. Here in the US, it’s all still questionable because our cap-limit hasn’t been enforced yet, even though the FDA has confirmed that anything over 50 has no more benefit than an actual 50.

Most sunscreens include oxybenzone and/or avobenzone. Both chemicals seep into your skin as you rub them on. The additives enter your bloodstream; oxybenzone has been proven to be a hormone and endocrine disrupter. Additionally, many skin allergies have arisen from the use of these compounds.

 

So What To Do?

Find a sunscreen that’s made from minerals. The good news is that over 30% of sun-skin-protection products are made of only minerals. Those are safe because they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sit on top of the skin and physically block the rays.

After applying a lovely coat of sunscreen on all exposed skin, a nice touch is to add powder to your face. There are many organic, hypoallergenic products on the market; best practice might be to use a face powder that includes a low SPF. This way, you’ve got double coverage, which may actually last longer throughout your day.

If you are on the water or in the snow, apply protection as often and generously as you would were you in a 110-degree desert. The reflection of the sun’s rays can burn your skin exponentially quicker. Remember, your skin is your largest organ and requires just as much care (if not more) as you’d offer to your lungs, liver, or brain. Be health-proactive and enjoy your time outdoors—rain, snow or shine!

Look Younger Longer—Exercise Your Face!

Want to look younger for as long as possible? Exercising your face may be a good alternative to plastic surgery and injections.

The Fountain of Truth

The truth is that we all grow old—some with more grace than others. We live in a society where image and youthful physical attributes are held in the highest regard. It’s a shame we’re made to feel inferior (and ashamed) if we age naturally the way nature intended. The battle is then fought with weapons such as scalpels, lasers, and needles. Returning, however, is a more peaceful trend. It’s the penchant of exercising facial muscles (along with creams, etc.) to maintain a semblance of a younger appearance.

Days of Yore

Before the introduction of plastic surgery to “lift” skin, women implemented other rituals to keep their faces intact. As we age, our skin’s elasticity declines. Collagen production starts to decrease after the age of 25. The late fitness guru, Jack LaLanne, introduced a facial “workout” on his TV show in the 1950’s.

LaLanne claimed that because muscles were out of shape, your skin became wrinkly and loose. He compared it to any other muscles in the body. Hence, he introduced his version of facial exercises. There were many starlets and other public figures in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s who subscribed to funny-face-making to engage “unused” muscles. That was before surgery became commonplace.

The 21st Century

Nowadays, those who choose not to (or can’t afford to) go under the knife or laser, practice facial contortions. Some beauty experts have coined the movements as face yoga or face Pilates. It’s old hat with a new brim.

Here are a few samples of how the exercises work:

Remove laugh lines. Toning cheek muscles are the focus. Inhale and fill your mouth and cheeks with as much air possible. Look like a sax player. Hold it… then release. Repeat six times.

Tighten jawline and neck. Sit upright and tilt your head back. Look straight up. Now press your tongue, hard, into the roof of your mouth. Weird, huh? The muscles in your neck should contract like a lizard. Bring your chin down. Repeat process six times.

Reduce lip lines. The theory is that if you tighten those muscles, they’ll be less inclined to shrivel. Blow air kisses ten times. Then place your finger on your lips and kiss six times again, keeping the rest of the face relaxed.

Reduce crow’s feet. As LaLanne suggested in his video, so do beauty gurus of today. If you want to reduce lines around the eyes, practice this: open your eyes wide as if you’ve just been surprised. Hold that pose for 10 seconds. Relax.  Repeat a couple of times and feel free to do it anytime during the day (as long as no one’s watching.)

There are other benign exercises for cheeks, jowls, and even hanging earlobes—all available on the Internet. The success of  “face exercising” has not been proven—nor has it been discounted. The only thing we can satisfactorily say is that it’s a device striving to maintain a youthful appearance without being invasive. A Happy face to you!

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