5. Meds Can Make You More Vulnerable
Medications like tetracycline, diuretics, and painkillers such as Celebrex, Aleve, and ibuprofen up your chances of getting a burn, says Barbara Gilchrest, M.D., professor and chair emeritus of the department of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine and chief emeritus of dermatology at Boston Medical Center. “They make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, specifically to UVA wavelengths, which means you need to be extra vigilant about sunscreen when you’re taking them.” Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, like Neutrogena Pure & Free Liquid SPF 50 ($10, neutrogena.com), to ward off sunburn and photo damage, which results from chronic exposure to UV rays.
6. Certain Foods Can Turbocharge Your Protection
One more good reason to load up on lycopene-rich fruits and veggies such as watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, and tomatoes: A 2010 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests the potent antioxidant lycopene acts as a sunscreen from within. Women whose diets included 16 milligrams of lycopene every day (the amount in about two cups of diced watermelon) for 12 weeks showed a reduction in the damaging effects of UVA and UVB rays, including sunburns and cellular damage. Tomatoes are the richest source of the antioxidant, especially when cooked (heating tomatoes releases more of the lycopene). Of course, this doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen. These fruits and veggies help boost your SPF but don’t replace it.