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FITNESS

Your Bod

Does the sun *actually* damage my skin?

If you're looking for a quick answer then you're in the right place:

Yes, the sun *actually* damages your skin.

If you're like me, I'm a sucker for the summer sun (and I'd say most people are too!). Laying out on the beach and playing outside can boost serotonin levels, making you a lot happier than if you stayed indoors lounging around. Even though the sun feels great, too much of it can *really* hurt you. 

How does the sun damage my skin?

The sun gives off ultraviolet (UV) rays that reach us in the form of sunshine and heat. Without adequate protection, UV ray exposure can lead to sunburns. Sun exposure depends on the UV index—the higher it is the more likely you'll burn—and how much time you spend in the sun.

A sunburn here and there might feel okay after you've recovered, but that first sunburn or tan is the start of your skin's damage. Even though some people are more prone to sunburn depending on their skin type, those that normally tan are still at risk. 

Tanning (outside and inside) and repeated sunburns can have harmful, long-term effects that change your skin's DNA. This leads to a higher risk of skin cancer and faster aging: the more the sun exposure, the earlier your skin ages. 

via GIPHY

How do I protect myself from the sun?

Don't worry—you can still enjoy the summer sun! It's totally okay to spend a day on the beach or lay out by the pool, but you *need* to stay protected. Here are our top tips for protecting your skin this summer. 

1. Limit sun exposure 

Instead of laying outside in direct sunlight for hours on end, opt to sit in the shade and wear clothing with good coverage. When you choose to go outside, keep track of how long you're in the sun to limit your exposure. Don't forget sunglasses and a hat—they protect your face, eyes and hair too!

2. *Always* wear sunscreen

Image: @sunbum

Laying out in the sun *without* sunscreen is a huge no-no. Ultimately, sunscreen will protect you, limit skin aging and reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Wear daily sunscreen (like a morning moisturizer with SPF) and apply it at the beach and the pool, playing sports or hanging with your friends. Make sure you always wear sunscreen during the sun's peak hours. Sun protection is cool! 

3. Stay away from tanning beds

Don't use tanning beds—use self tanner instead. Indoor tanning raises the risk of sun damage *so* much. Self tanner is a great alternative for getting that glow, so try a product like SOL by Jergens

4. Make healthy skin a way of life

Image: @hawaiiantropic

Implementing these practices and being educated is the best thing you can do. Stay hydrated, stay active and protect your skin from the sun—it will thank you later. 

Have any questions about your bod? Let us know on IG @girlslifemag!

Slider image: @sunbum

We want to hear from you! Send us your weirdest body questions here (seriously, we'll answer anything!) and it just might get featured.

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by Allie Lijewski | 7/15/2021
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