Sure, you wear sunscreen, but did you know there are more (read: unexpected) ways to boost your skin's protection from harmful rays? Try these expert tips for a safer, sunnier summer.
Eat your antioxidants
"Topical skincare products address only 20 percent of your skin, on it's surface," says Howard Murad, M.D., creator of Murad products. "The other 80 percent is affected internally by what you eat and drink." To rev up your body's natural sunscreen protection, incorporate more antioxidant-rich foods into your diet. Murad is a fan of pomegranate, which has been scientifically proven to help reduce hyperpigmentation from the inside out. "It contains pomphenol extract, which has been shown to improve the SPF of topical formulas," Murad says. Not a fan of fruits and berries? Try a dietary Supplement instead.
Curb your exposure
Got a corner office with great views? Nice for your career, not so much for your skin. "Depending on which direction your windows face, you could be catching morning or late day UVA rays unintentionally, right at your desk," says Zein Obagi, M.D., a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. "Seventy percent of UV damage is from casual exposure," he says. To shield yourself from these aging UVA rays (they're the ones responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin in the deeper layers of the dermis), invest in sun-protective window treatments or a solar sun screen that can be fitted to the driver's side of your car.
Pop a preventative pill
Pills exist to prevent hangovers, so why not sunburns? "If you're going to the beach, or know you're going to be outside all day, take a sunscreen pill like Heliocare before leaving the house," says Amy Taub, M.D., a dermatologist in Lincolnshire, Illinois. It's a natural, plant-derived antioxidant supplement that works immediately to increase sun's protection. Don't skimp on sunscreen though. "As with all these tips, it's not a replacement," Taub says.
Upgrade your wardrobe
Sunglasses and hats make for stylish accessories, but you can also get sun protection from certain articles of clothing. Special, sun-protective garments can effectively block out both UVA and UVB rays. "Just be sure to look for labels that say UPF 50," Taub says. "That's the clothing equivalent of SPF." If revamping your wardrobe is too expensive, choose regular clothes made from tightly woven fibers and in darker colors (they repel UV light better than airy whites). "Hold garments up to a light and see if they are transparent," Taub says. "The more see-though, the less protection."
How do you protect YOUR skin?