Antioxidants are chemical compounds that neutralize the effects of free radicals, a normal byproduct of metabolism. UV rays and environmental pollutants, however, cause the body to produce an over abundance of free radicals. This opens the door for a number of negative skin conditions, including cancer. The best-known antioxidants that fight free radical damage are vitamins A, C, and E and the mineral selenium. Because your body does not produce these antioxidants, they must be introduced from food sources or applied topically to the skin.
Howard Murad, M.D., dermatologist and author of The Murad Method, emphasizes the importance of taking “sun-protective” supplements, as well as using antioxidant skincare formulations. These supplements contain antioxidants derived from grapes, citrus fruits, and pomegranates. “We’ve been able to scientifically prove that taking one pomegranate tablet (Murad Pomphenol Super Antioxidant with Pomegranate Extract) a day, can increase the efficacy of your sunscreen by twenty-five percent,” says Dr. Murad. “This allows you to fight skin damage from the inside out, while also supporting all your organs that are affected by free radical damage.”
Beneficial spa treatments
Experts also advise that it is equally important to take advantage of antioxidant, cancer-fighting treatments at spas. Anti-aging treatments are especially rich in antioxidants, while treatments like light glycolic peels, vitamin C exfoliation masks, and even microdermabrasion treatments can help to remove pre-cancerous skin lesions that may eventually turn malignant. But remember, nothing replaces the expertise and treatments you receive from your dermatologist.
Physician-supervised medical spas offer an array of medical-grade treatments that go toe-to-toe with pre-cancerous conditions. JUVA Skin & Laser Center in New York City, for instance, offers facials, massages, and body polishes with 5-FU, a medication that has been clinically proven to remove pre-cancerous cells. This medical spa, and many others like it, offer the added bonus of specific skincare results.
A proactive stance with sun protection will have a profound effect on the health and appearance of your skin.
This includes practicing good sun protection and having an annual skin cancer screening, which can nip most problems in the bud before they have a chance to develop into serious skin conditions. Also, regularly treat your psyche and your skin to bona fide skin rejuvenation therapies at your favorite spa. They will definitely make you look and feel younger, but they’ll also help keep blotchiness and skin cancer at bay.
Play Safe Clothes
The Skin Cancer Foundation considers sun-protective clothing to be the most safe and effective defense in the fight against skin cancer and aging. UPF 50+ is the highest protection rating clothing can have.
A typical summer shirt only offers an SPF 6.5 and many fabrics are significantly less photo-protective when wet. Specialty sun-protective clothing that resists UV penetration rates the UV protection factor on the tag. While this type of clothing typically includes long-sleeved shirts, pants, and broad-brim hats, companies are distancing themselves from their original “fuddy-duddy” designs by creating clothing with more stylish appeal.
David McDaniel, dermatologist and noted researcher in Virginia Beach, Virginia, advises that you can receive the full benefit of sun-protective clothing by exercising good common sense mixed with a bit of fun. “When playing outdoors, you should always wear your sportswear under more protective clothing that covers your arms, legs, and neck,” he says. “As long as you are wearing sunscreen, you can peel down to your shorts or swimsuit while playing volleyball, swimming, or taking the occasional stroll down the beach in your bikini sort of thing,” says Dr. McDaniel. “In between these activities, it is smart to slip back into something more sun protective.”
To have the best fun under the sun, shop for sun-protective clothing with a UPF rating at sports stores, surf shops, and these websites:
Personal Motivation: “My personal motivation for protecting from the sun comes on two fronts. First of all, both of my parents have had malignant melanoma. For neither was it lethal, but my whole family is constantly on the watch for this deadly skin cancer. Secondly, and I am embarrassed to admit this, but premature aging is a big worry to me. I was raised on the beaches of San Diego and I have all the sun damage of a avid sun worshiper. I think we all wish the sun protection industry had matured years earlier so we could have enjoyed the great outdoors without all the damage. So while leisure time is precious and outdoor activities have the added benefit of better health. Sungrubbies mission is to keep you safe under the sun by offering super high quality, stylish, comfortable sun protective clothing and accessories.”
Personal Motivation: “Nearly thirty years ago, I was diagnosed and treated for malignant melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. Fortunately, it was removed in time. And I’ve been skin cancer free. Solumbra sun protective clothing is designed to help people like you and me obtain medically accepted sun protection that we can rely on each and every day. I garnered the expertise of leaders in sun protection to create this solution. At its core, Solumbra is medical science and technology. It’s not just clothing. Thousands of doctors have recommended Solumbra and many have used it themselves.” – Shaun Hughes
Personal Motivation: “Coolibar takes its name from a eucalyptus tree native to the Australian outback – offering welcome relief and reliable protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays, on the continent where sun protection began. It’s the first company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation for sun protective clothing.
For real lip smacking appeal, protect your mouth with an SPF-rated product that is made expressly for this delicate area of the face. The result will be smoother, plumper, younger-looking lips that are far less likely to develop skin cancer.Here are just a few products that keep solar damage at bay: