Shun the Sun for Great Skin
Teens, if you want great skin now - and 10 years from now - then shun the sun, or you'll have wrinkled, cancer-prone skin.
Kaminsky says to put on sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go out into
the sun. Put it on once more every 2 hours, especially after swimming or
Catch Rays ... But Just a Few
It's OK to get some sun to give yourself ample vitamin D, which works to
build strong bones and boost your immune system to keep you well. That said,
milk and other foods are fortified with vitamin D, so you don't need much time
in the sun to fill your body's needs.
How much time in the sun is healthy? "It's hard to tell how much sun you
really need," says Dr. Hornung, "Ten to 15 minutes of sun a few times a week is
What about slowly building a "base tan," to protect your skin from long days
at the beach? Dr. Hornung says it won't protect your skin. "Even if you want to
build a base tan before hitting the beach," she says, "the SPF protection value
of the base tan is small. It's not the best way to guard against a future
Also, whether you get your tan slowly as a base tan or all in one week, the
studies show that tanned skin increases the risk of sun damage.
Leave the Burn Behind
The bottom line: Avoid the sun to protect your skin from skin cancer and
premature aging. Cover up with a hat and shirt, wear sunglasses, stay out of
the midday sun, and use sunscreen, which works pretty well. Hornung says, "Even
if you could find sunscreen with an SPF of 100, it would not shield your skin
well enough. The UV rays still go right into the skin."
While Dr. Hornung hopes that teens will soon think pale skin looks good,
there is a "safe" way to look tan and have great skin for life: the
spray-on tan. "The spray-on tan is a good option," Hornung says. "Each time
you're in UV light, you harm your DNA. While the body usually repairs the DNA,
why risk hurting your skin when you can spray-on a tan?"
Whether you shun the sun this year or not, you still need to be aware of
skin changes. If you have moles, light hair and fair skin, a family history of
skin cancer, or years of sun exposure, talk to your doctor about your risk of
skin cancer. With early detection and treatment, most cases of skin cancer are