Tan safely this summer. You may admire the “healthy” glow of sun-exposed skin, but keep in mind that 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65% of melanomas are linked to the sun. Here are 4 tips to enjoy sunshine without endangering your health.

  1. Drink green tea Green tea’s antioxidants offer sun protection, according to research. The polyphenols in green tea have been studied for their effects on carcinogenic UV rays. These studies showed that taking green tea’s polyphenols in water (including drinking tea or with a green tea supplement) or topically (in a gel) protect skin against tumours by helping to absorb UV rays.
  2. Don’t tan your eyes Your eye’s lens and cornea filter UV rays, but if exposed to too much over years, they can be damaged, leading to cataracts, macular degeneration and cancer. Eyelid skin is extremely thin and can be affected by sunlight. Up to 10% of all skin cancers are on the eyelid, mostly on the lower lid that is often more exposed. Wear sunglasses that block 100% of the sun’s UV rays; make sure the lens has wide coverage; and cover eyes with shades and a brimmed hat while sunbathing.
  3. Know what you’re applying Although some sunscreens boast an SPF of 50 or higher, using SPF 15 theoretically prevents unprotected skin from turning red 15 times longer – meaning five hours if it usually takes 20 minutes for reddening. Therefore, SPF 15 sunscreens are perfectly adequate protection against UVB rays. FDA labelling regulations went into effect in 2012: the terms “sunblock” and “waterproof” are no longer allowed on labels; and all must advise reapplying after swimming or sweating since it is vital.
  4. Slather on… grape seed extract Grape seed extract from red grapes might protect you against skin cancer when rubbed on skin or taken orally. A 2013 study found that when grape seed extract was applied topically 30 minutes before sun exposure, its antioxidants protected against cancer caused by UVB rays. Another study showed that taking grape seed extract orally also protected skin against the sun’s rays. Take it in combination with sunscreen.

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