Summer is a wonderful time of the year, but the daily sun exposure can take a toll on your skin. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause sunburn, eye damage, premature wrinkles, and even skin cancer over time. Protecting your skin with sunscreen, protective clothing, sunglasses, and staying in the shade can help lower your risk.
Sunlight and skin damage
The sun radiates light to the earth, and part of that light consists of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are two main types of UV rays that damage your skin, UVA and UVB.
Too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause sunburn, tanning, eye damage, and even skin cancer.
Moreover, sun exposure is mainly responsible for the premature ageing of your skin. UV rays are the primary cause of wrinkles, pigmentation, sun spots, reduced skin elasticity, leathery and rough skin texture, and many other signs of skin ageing.
The following are some simple steps you can take to protect your skin and help reduce your exposure to UV rays:
Stay out of the sun
A simple way to limit your exposure to UV rays is to avoid being outdoors in direct sunlight too long. This is particularly important between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Do your outdoor work earlier or later in the day, when the rays are not as strong.
If you really need to go outside during these hours, remain in the shade by using an umbrella or staying under a tree or some other shelter. The best way to protect your skin when you’re outside is to use sunscreen and wear protective clothing.
- Sunscreen is a product (lotion, cream, ointment) that you apply on your skin to protect it from the sun’s UV rays.
- The sun protection factor (SPF) number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UV rays. Higher SPF numbers mean more protection. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
- Use a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Make sure to apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go out. Apply liberally and thoroughly on your face, ears, neck, arms, and other areas not covered by clothing.
- Re-apply sunscreen if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours, and after you swim or do things that make you sweat.
Wear a hat
Wearing a hat can be the best thing you can do to protect areas that are often exposed to intense sunlight, such as the ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.
Though many of us prefer standard baseball caps, they generally don’t help protect the ears and neck. Wide brim hats (such as floppy hats) work the best. A wide brim all the way around the hat helps protect your face, ears, and neck.
Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. Hats made of tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, are preferable.
Wear protective clothes
Clothing is the single most effective form of sun protection. It is your first line of defence against the sun’s harmful UV rays. When choosing clothes for sun safety, consider the following:
- Loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts provide the best protection from UV rays.
- Darker colours tend to absorb UV light and may offer more protection than lighter colours.
- Clothes made of thick, tightly woven fabrics, such as denim and wool, prevent penetration of harmful rays.
- Clothes made of unbleached cotton, synthetic fibres like polyester, and satin can absorb or reflect UV rays, preventing them from reaching the skin.
Don’t forget your sunglasses
Over time, the sun’s rays can seriously damage your eyes and surrounding skin, leading to wrinkles, vision loss, cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer. Sunglasses protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays provide the best protection. Wrap-around sunglasses are better as they also block UV rays coming in from the sides.
Disclaimer: All material on Hidoc.co is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions regarding your symptoms or medical condition and before taking any home remedies or supplements.