Sunlight, a major source of UVA and UVB radiation, penetrates deep into the skin cells, excessive exposure to which can potentially result in immune system suppression, eye cataract and multiple skin conditions. While UV rays are known to damage collagen fibers in the skin causing premature aging and Sunburns, they are also responsible for the deadliest form of skin cancer-malignant melanoma. Although the incidences of skin cancer amongst darker skin toned people is lower than in Caucasians due to additional melanin in the skin which limits the absorption of UV rays into the deeper layer of skin cells, darker people are nonetheless at a risk of developing skin cancers from unrestricted subjection to the Sun. Moreover, these rays can also aggravate multiple skin diseases and conditions including Sjogren’s syndrome and rosacea amongst many others. The harmful bands of UV radiation reach the Earth even on a cloudy day and have their effects indoors too, hence it is essential to always take precautionary measures as a defensive mechanism to protect yourself from the harmful effects of sun rays.
How to defend yourself?
Photo protection is widely encouraged by dermatologists as a leading protective strategy against Ultra Violet rays; sun protection products have evolved tremendously over the years according to consumer needs as well as technological advances. Sunscreens are now being in-cooperated as a vital ingredient in the manufacture of a wide range of products, from the traditional Sun creams to the daily skin care and cosmetic products. Catering to the increasing demand for healthier and more effective Sun care products, the Sun protection industry has effectively made accessible to the consumers an extensive range of products to choose from according to their lifestyle and skin type. Sunscreens that offer multiple properties are now available in the form of creams, lotions, gels and sprays that are cost effective and are, therefore, more appealing to the customers.
Choose your Sun Cream wisely.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, a Sunscreen that provides “broad- spectrum protection” must be chosen to cater to both UVA and UVB rays. While all Sun protection creams shield against UVB rays, UVA rays, that are responsible for causing premature aging and skin cancers, are specifically blocked by products that offer a broad-spectrum protection. Moreover, a product with SPF of 30 or higher must be used as a Sun cream for face and body where the SPF factor indicates the protection level it provides. However, no Sunscreen can shield you completely; SPF 30 filters about 98% UVB rays whereas SPF 50 filters about 98.8% beyond which there is a minute increase in protection.
For best results, the Sunscreen must be worn 30 minutes before stepping out in the Sun so that it can be completely absorbed in the skin and must be re applied at least every two hours (even more if you swim or sweat). According to Dr. Noor Almaani, consultant dermatologist at the King Edward VII Hospital in Windsor, two milligrams of Sunblock is required per centimeter squared of skin- six teaspoons for the adult body and about three teaspoons for children. It is crucial that sun protection is applied to all exposed parts of the body including ears and neck. Nevertheless, the use of sunscreen should be avoided on children under the age of six since their skin is too thin and sensitive to chemicals. Thus, they should be kept out of the sun altogether.
Furthermore, additional precautions should be taken into consideration to stay safe under the Sun. Seek shade as much as possible and avoid stepping out between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during when the UV rays are the most intense. Ensure to wear loose, light weighted and protective clothing with a wide brimmed hat to shield as much skin as possible when going outside. Also, protect your eyes by including sunglasses in your attire to block about 99% of the harmful UV rays from reaching your retina. The intensity of the sun rays depends upon factors such as the altitude of your location as well as the time of the year. While UV rays are the strongest during the summers, they reflect off snow and water during the winter months, consequently increasing the chances of sunburn. Hence plan your activities accordingly.