Anti-Aging Arsenal: Sunscreen
This morning I looked in the mirror and my mother was looking back at me! An old joke, maybe, but when it happens to you, it’s surprising. There’s something to be said about how our mothers and other relatives age, because, genetics being what they are, we may take the same route to gray hair, crow’s feet and bifocal glasses.
Good Genes and Common Sense
My husband’s family is blessed with hearty genes. Most live well into their 90s, and several into their 100s. My mother-in-law had thick, lustrous white hair and glowing skin until the day she died. My mother is a fresh-faced beauty in her 70s. Her mother started her on Pond’s™ cold cream in the 50s, and her skin has remained soft and smooth. You know what else these ladies did? They protected their faces from the sun with hats, and when suntan lotion became available, they used it. In the 70s, Sea & Ski ™ was a summer staple at our house.
Over the years, there has been a proliferation of sunscreen products. We’ve learned that we don’t want PABA on our skin; we should opt for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, natural compounds that don’t endanger us with free radicals. There are even Sunscreen Bands ™ to remind us to reapply our suntan lotion. Recently, there was a re-evaluation of SPF numbers. Now, anything under 30 is considered adequate, according to the NIH (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus). As with any issues related to your health, it is best to discuss the use of sunscreen with your primary care physician, pediatrician or dermatologist.
Not Just for Summertime
Here in the northeast, the days are growing shorter and cooler. Now I bundle up in a sweatshirt to do my daily power walk. I had shed my usual baseball cap and ditched the sunscreen – until today. Maybe I’m the only one who wasn’t on board, but I just learned that I need sunscreen year round. Although I’m not a skier, catching reflected sunshine off snowy mountaintops, I still need to protect my skin from UV rays that can wreak havoc with my face.
Prevent Skin Cancer
If you’re using a foundation with an SPF, great! Otherwise, pick up a naturally derived, professionally recommended sunscreen like Neutrogena™ and use it daily. In my family, we’re prone to squamous and basal cell carcinoma, the two “do-able” skin cancers. Melanoma’s the one you don’t want to get. The treatment of skin cancer takes place under the care of a dermatologist. Suspect tissue is sent out for biopsy. Cancerous growths are treated by a variety of outpatient surgical methods.
Sunscreen is your fist and best defense against premature aging and the development of skin cancer. When choosing sunscreens and cosmetics, look for natural products from reputable companies. Now, go out and catch some autumn rays!