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Getting a healthy summer glow
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 20 - 06 - 2019

Summer is now upon us, and for many this means trying to get the healthy summer glow that can come from time spent in the sun.
Sunlight boosts levels of serotonin in our bodies and produces Vitamin D, which is good for our bones, teeth, and skin. The desire for a sun-kissed look is shared by many people, but safe tanning is necessary in order to avoid premature ageing and the risk of skin cancer.
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Here are some tips to enhance and prolong your tan without damaging your skin:
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Exfoliate before sun exposure:
The act of exfoliation removes the dead cells from the uppermost layers of the skin and allows for fresh skin to appear. Removing the dead cells can even your skin tone, remove pore-clogging dirt and oil, and even prevent acne. Their removal will also allow you to tan more easily because your tan will appear and fade more evenly.

Wear the right sunscreen:
Go for sun protection factor (SPF) 30, which filters 97 per cent of the UVB rays from the sun if you have fair skin. For those who have a dark skin, SPF15 is sufficient. Look for the term “broad spectrum” or the UVA logo plus the word “high” on your sunscreen bottle and don't just rely on the SPF. Apply the sunscreen minutes before you go into the sun, and then reapply 15 to 30 minutes after you have been exposed. Reapply if you have done any aquatic activity that could have washed off the sunscreen.

Understand your tanning time:
The best way to get a healthy summer glow is to tan in small doses and avoid overexposing your skin to UV rays. It's useless to laze by the pool or the sea the whole day to get a tan since your skin will reach a tanning cut-off point when it physically can't produce any more tanning pigment, or melanin. This cut-off is usually two to three hours in the sun or less for those who have fair skin. After this you're just subjecting your skin to the risk of damage. It is also important to choose the best time of day for your tan. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, UV strength is greatest from 10am to 4pm during the summer days.
Seek some shade
Seek some shade:
For a healthier and longer-lasting tan, you should take a break from the sun to reduce the UV intensity as well as the sunburn risk. Your eyes and the skin around them are susceptible to UV rays, so large-framed and wrap-around sunglasses are ideal to protect this area. A wide hat can protect your ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp, while helping you to look stylish while getting your tan. If wide hats do not suit you, opt for a cap instead.

Eat sun-friendly foods:
Certain foods are known to increase lycopene, the skin's own SPF. Dark chocolate is packed with flavonoids that can help protect against sunburn, while caffeine is thought to help cut your skin cancer risk. You can thus take an espresso shot right before you hit the beach. An antioxidant found in green tea, tomatoes, and other red and orange fruit and vegetables can boost your sun protection by almost 33 per cent. Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory powers.


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