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6 Things to Know about Sunscreen

Protecting yourself from the sun is vital to minimizing the risk of melanoma, as well as premature skin aging. Use these guidelines for buying and applying sunscreen.

If you want protection from the sun, avoid its rays (particularly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. standard time from April through September in the Northern Hemisphere); wear a wide-brim hat and sunglasses (make sure your sunglasses block at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB radiation); and use sunscreen. When it comes to the latter, consider these six guidelines for getting the most out of your sunscreen: 

  1. Choose sunscreens that offer "broad spectrum" protection - that means it will block UVB rays and some UVA. Look for zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and Parsol 1789 among the ingredients, but do not use "micronized" or "nano" formulations.
  2. Buy sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. This will block about 93 percent of UVB rays. Higher SPF numbers won't necessarily give you that much greater protection, but tend to remain effective longer.
  3. Use it liberally. You need at least an ounce (the amount that would fill a shot glass) to cover your entire body.
  4. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors so that it can be absorbed into the skin.
  5. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after every swim. No matter what the label says, one application of sunscreen won't last you all day and won't stay on if you're in and out of the water.
  6. Remember that solar exposure is the best way to maintain optimum vitamin D levels, so don't entirely avoid sunlight on your bare skin. Learn how to safely raise your "D" levels via prudent sun exposure.

A Way To Banish Cellulite?

A popular European spa treatment claims to be helpful in reducing cellulite. But is it true? Find out what the treatment is, and what Dr. Weil says about how well it works.

Dry brushing, long popular in Europe, is in vogue at American spas - and now there are plenty of products on the market to help you do it at home. But should you?

Basically, dry brushing involves rubbing the skin with a dry, natural bristle brush. The process can be gentle or rough and may help slough off dead skin cells, but other claims for it are far-fetched: 

  • Cellulite reduction or elimination. There is no reason to believe this is true. Fat is arranged in large chambers separated from each other by membranes of connective tissue. If fat overflows these chambers as a person becomes overweight, or if the connective tissue slackens with age, the result is the classic pitting and bulging we have come to know as cellulite. But no massage or brushing technique has any significant effect on it.
  • Toxic elimination. The idea that dry brushing can eliminate up to a pound of toxins a day, as some proponents claim, is ridiculous. Under most circumstances, the body does a good job of cleansing and purifying itself. If you feel the need, you can help speed the removal of unwanted materials by drinking water throughout the day, using steam baths or saunas to promote sweating, adjusting diet and fiber intake to ensure regular eliminations and getting enough aerobic activity to stimulate faster breathing. In addition, taking the herbal remedy milk thistle supports normal, healthy liver metabolism, aiding its important role in detoxification.

I would take the health claims for dry brushing with a big grain of salt. If you enjoy it and believe it benefits you, there's no reason not to do it. But if you find that it irritates or inflames your skin, opt for a less abrasive spa treatment such as massage.

4 Ways To Promote Healthy Hair, Nails and Skin

Certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are important for healthy hair, nails and skin. Find out which ones provide the most benefit.

In addition to eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild Alaskan salmon and freshly ground flaxseed, and taking care to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 when needed with the goal of avoiding sunburn, certain supplements may help promote healthy hair, nails and skin. Consider the following:

  1. Evening Primrose Oil - nourishes skin, hair and joints by supplying essential omega-6 fatty acids.
  2. Omega-3 - provides the much-needed fatty acids EPA and DHA.
  3. Vitamin D - supports bone and immune health.
  4. Milk thistle - supports a healthy liver and provides natural antioxidant capabilities.

How Often Do You Use Sunscreen? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed sunscreen and the best forms of sun protection while outside: Sunscreen Snafu? Check out the article and let us know when and how often you use sunscreen.

Want Healthier Skin, Hair and Nails?

Certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are important for healthy hair, nails and skin. In addition to eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild Alaskan salmon and freshly ground flaxseed, and taking care to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to avoid sunburn, consider taking these supplements. Each provides benefits for your hair, skin and nails:

1. Evening Primrose Oil - nourishes skin, hair and joints by supplying essential omega-6 fatty acids.

2. Omega-3 - provides the much-needed fatty acids EPA and DHA.

3. Vitamin D - supports bone and immune health.

4. Milk thistle - supports a healthy liver via its detoxification process and provides natural antioxidant capabilities.