It's not only the products you use on your skin and your health habits, such as smoking -- or not, that can influence how you look, but also where you live. Cities bathed in regular sunshine can be a hazard for residents, who face far higher risks of skin cancer and premature aging. DailyGlow.com analyzed data on U.S. cities, including dermatologists per capita, skin-cancer rates, climate statistics, healthy-lifestyle indicators, and more, to find out which urban areas are the best for our skin. The top 10 best U.S. cities for your skin:
1. Portland, Oregon
It's easy to stay out of the sun in Portland, since it rains so much. Also, the environment is relatively free of pollution and the smoking rate is low.
2. San Francisco, California
In addition to a low skin-cancer death rate, San Francisco boasts an active population and no high-ozone days. Its famous fog even helps residents' skin by cleaning out the city every day.
3. Seattle, Washington
Like Portland, it rains a lot in Seattle, and those overcast days, along with low pollution levels and low ozone days, are kind to skin. But beware! When the sun does shine, it is very intense when the skies are clear--kind of sneaking up on you. Sunburn rates skyrocket then.
4. Baltimore, Maryland
There are many sunny days in Baltimore, so sun protection is essential. Still, the area boasts a low skin-cancer death rate, which may be attributable in large part to the extraordinary health care resources nearby, including Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
5. Chicago, Illinois
In addition to having the highest number of skin-care specialists in the country, Chicago has short summers, preventing most folks from receiving too much skin damage.
6. Honolulu, Hawaii
While it's known for its sun and surf, Honolulu has one of the lowest rates of air-particle pollution in the country and zero high-ozone days. That's important for healthy skin. The free radicals from pollution can cause oxidative damage and changes in the skin's DNA, as well as worsen the effect of ultraviolent rays on the skin. Because of the constant sunshine, residents are more vigilant about sunscreen protection than cities with less sun.
7. Boston, Massachusetts
There is one reason that Boston ranks so high on this list: It has the highest number of dermatologists per capita of anywhere in the country. From Boston University to Harvard, it is a hotbed of clinical research in dermatology.
8. New York, New York
It may seem an anomaly that the most populous U.S. city is also one of the best for healthy skin, but credit that to smart, savvy residents who know how to take care of themselves. In addition to one of the lowest skin-cancer rates in the country, the Big Apple has strict smoking bans in public places, including parks and beaches.
9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
With long winters and short summers--and less sun exposure-- residents here also enjoy an environment that is low in pollution, thanks to the decline of heavy industry and manufacturing in the area.
10. Austin, Texas
Even though the sun shines on Austin more than 300 days a year, residents are skin-savvy and physically active. They know to slather on the sunscreen and wear a hat.