People may wish for a “healthy tan” but exposure to ultraviolet light damages skin cells’ genetic material and can contribute to skin cancer formation, not to mention lines and wrinkles. Here are some rules to live by when it comes to the sun and your skin.

• Remember, sun damage is cumulative. Exposure to ultraviolet light during childhood will increase the risk of developing skin cancer in later years. It’s never too late to begin using sunscreen, however, to inhibit further sun damage and not just for a day at the beach. Daily exposure adds up. It is important to use daily products with SPF for your hands and face and any other exposed skin. Don’t forget your lips. They burn just as quickly, so opt for a lip balm such as Beyond Belief Lip Balm with SPF 15.

• Get enough protection. SPF stands for “sun protection factor” and ranges from a base of two to a maximum of 50, providing the strongest protection. The sun protection factor helps you determine how long the sunscreen will protect your skin. In general, if your skin is fair, you will burn more quickly than if your skin is olive or dark. To determine how long you can stay outdoors without burning, take the number of minutes it takes your unprotected skin to start turning red, then multiply it by the SPF factor. For example, if your unprotected skin begins to redden in 10 minutes, an SPF of 15 will give you 150 minutes of sun protection.

• Ensure constant protection. Reapply sunscreen after swimming or other physical activity and at regular intervals to be sure that perspiration doesn’t leave you unprotected. Remember that reapplying sunscreen does not make it safer to stay in the sun longer; it just re-establishes the protection you have already applied.

• Protect sensitive skin. It’s not okay to go without, so start looking at the ingredients. You may be allergic to PABA, an effective sunscreen ingredient. Look for a PABA-free sunscreen. Additionally, if you are allergic to hair dyes, avoid sunscreens containing PABA.

• Don’t forget your hands. Keep a hand lotion with SPF in your glove compartment. Your hands get a lot of sun when you drive and remembering to apply some sort of SPF when you’re on the road will keep them younger-looking. BioLink Daily SPF Moisturizer is a good choice.

Kristi Fuhrmann is a Hollywood stylist who works with major studios and is a spokesperson for Sally Beauty Company.

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