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Inside Beat

Not just for summer: SPF prevents skin damage year-round

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As summer has ended and we slowly say goodbye to our summer clothes and comforts, we welcome the fall that will turn into winter. As the temperatures cool down and we wave farewell to the warm weather, swimsuits and sunscreen commercials and billboards seem to bombard us everyday in the summer.

Although we will not be seeing sunscreen commercials too often anymore, it does not mean we shouldn't still worry about the dangers of the sun. A lot of us — especially those of us with darker skin — don’t pay much attention to or question why doctors and commercials warn us about the dangers of the sun. Most of us see these commercials and warnings as only a premeditated measure to prevent skin cancer, something that may seem far-off to a college student. The truth is that the sun’s UV rays not only increase the chance for skin cancer, but also affect many parts of our bodies and are harmful to everyone, from the fairest skin to the darkest. 

From premature aging to hair damage, the sun proves to be extremely vicious when we do not protect ourselves from it. 

The sun's ultraviolet light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin, according to WebMD. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The skin also bruises and tears more easily, taking longer to heal. So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you're young, it will definitely show later in life. The sun also has the tendency to darken acne marks and scars, not fade them, like many people believe.

Unfortunately, anti-aging creams range from hundreds to thousands of dollars and they are not as effective as the price point would indicate. The best way to age gracefully is to use SPF every day, even on cold or rainy days. Exposure to sunlight during the winter months puts you at the same risk as exposure during the summertime, because UV rays are present in daylight.

To protect your skin from the sun all year round, incorporate SPF into your daily life. You can effortlessly add SPF to your daily skin care routine by using a moisturizer with SPF. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer With Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has SPF mixed into its formula. This product not only moisturizes your skin, but works as a shield to protect you from UV rays and from the many dangers of the sun. 

A similar product from Amore Pacific is a Sun Protection Stick with SPF50+. The stick is great for on-the-go use and can be applied to the cheeks, nose and lips.

Another great way to incorporate SPF into your daily life is a foundation or tinted moisturizer with SPF. The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum has SPF 20 mixed into its formula. 

It's also important to protect your hair from the sun. The sun can dry out our hair and make it brittle. To maintain the luster of your hair and keep it as healthy and possible, try using a product like Clarins Sun Care High Protection for Beautiful Body and Hair UVA/UVB 30 Oil Spray. 

UV rays are more dangerous than many of us would like to believe. Skin cancer is a scary and common possibility, but aging is inevitable. Luckily, preventing early signs of wrinkles and age spots is attainable with SPF products. Although those of us with darker skin tones don't deal with sunburn as often, none of us are immune to the damage caused by exposure to the sun. 

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