My Grammy lived to be 98 years old and took really good care of herself. Seriously, her skin was awesome. She always told me her secret was staying out of the sun. Now that's not really an option for most of us, but I have always remembered her lesson and have been known to take "sun care" a little bit more seriously than my family and friends.
In 2012, I trained for a late season Ironman, and that meant training all summer long in the sun. After that Ironman, it didn't even look like I had been outside at all that summer!
Here are my top recommendations for limiting sun damage:
1. Sun sleeves and sun shirts! This is basically all I wear when I'm outside between the hours of 9am and 4pm during the summer. Whether I'm training or not. There are some awesome sun clothing options out there now and they are my go-to shirts all summer long. I have a couple from Lululemon, Billabong and Roxy. Look for UPF clothing, or rash guard shirts, and thin, comfy pants.
2. Sunscreen! I always wear sunscreen, even under my clothes. There's a lot of information online about ingredients that are bad in sunscreen. My opinion on this is that it's more risky not to wear sunscreen. I look for sunscreen that:
- Is water/sweat resistent
- Has UVA andUVB protection (I like to say that UVA rays cause ageing and UVB rays cause burns, so you need protection from both)
- I wear SPF 60. Although wearing 60 does not give you twice the protection of SPF 30, it does give you more protection.
I'm also currently investigating making my own sunscreen...it's the only soap/beauty related product that I currently buy...I have switched to making everything else.
Another important note...as soon as I'm done with the sun for the day, I wash all the sunscreen off, especially my face. For this I have recently been using Witch Hazel, a natrual toner.
3. Zinc! If I'm going to be outside for a long time, during a training session or something else, I'll up my sunscreen game and wear zinc on my face. Remember those zinc tubes that kids wore in the 80s and 90s? Yup, you can order it them on Amazon.
4. Hats! I take a hat with me everywhere I go. Not necessarily a huge brimmed hat, but a cap at least. This helps keep the sun off my face and my scalp where the part in my hair is. Right now I'm loving my Ten Tree hat. Check out some of my pics on my Instagram page featuring this hat....https://www.instagram.com/flyingphayzer/
5. Covering my arms and hands while I drive. If I know I'm going to be exposed to the sun in any way during the summer, I'll always have a longsleeve shirt with me. Normally a sun shirt. A few of my sunshirts have thumb holes and I like those best, because it covers the back of my hand. So I'll always do that while I'm driving. Windows do not block all sun rays!
6. Scout out the shade. Whenever I can, I'm looking to be in the shade. Still able to enjoy being outside but not in direct sun exposure!
Another question I'm frequently asked is whether to buy organic sunscreen. According to Dr. Sabrina Stierwalt , organic sunscreen filters absorb UV radiation while non organic filters reflect them off the skin. So in this instance, it does seem that having non organic sunscreen is actually the better option.
And there you have it! My top tips for being "sun smart" :)