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How to Keep Your Skin Protected From the Sun

How to Keep Your Skin Safe in the Sun

Find out if your powder foundation really has enough sunscreen to protect you and more with Allure's tips for staying sun-safe this season.

It takes just five sunburns over the course of a lifetime to double your risk of melanoma. I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, throwing such a serious stat at you, but May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and — before you close this browser window to go grab a coffee — I know what you're thinking: by now, everyone knows that skin cancer isn't a joke, right? I mean, even the friend who had an unlimited monthly pass to the tanning salon in high school switched to spray tans! As much as we know about skin cancer, though, only about 20 percent of us wear sunscreen daily. (Which is crazy, considering in a poll we did on Allure's Facebook page, 68 percent of our fans said they either have had skin cancer or know someone who has.) But here's the thing: it's never too late to start taking care of your skin. Here, a few sun-protection tricks to keep in mind as the temperatures start to rise:

  • If you're the outdoorsy type, you may want to take a Summer vacation from retinols: they thin the top layer of skin and can make you vulnerable to redness and brown spots, says dermatologist Fredric Brandt.
  • One bottle of sunscreen is not going to last. "One ounce is the right goal for each application, as well as for each reapplication, so a 12-ounce bottle is 12 servings — and that's not a lot," says Patricia Wexler, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Set an alarm on your phone to ring every two hours to remind you to reapply.
  • If you're outside for 30 minutes or more, wear a chemical sunscreen (like one with Mexoryl SX or Parsol) topped by a physical one (with Z-Cote or titanium dioxide). "Neither type is 100 percent perfect, and whatever rays get through the first layer are caught by the second one," says Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann.
  • Think twice before you use sunscreen wipes: The FDA is reviewing their effectiveness, along with powders and shampoos containing SPF. (No decisions have been made yet.)
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