Facts Must Know To Protect Yourself From Sun Damage

Compared to a few years ago, we are much more aware of the dangers caused by too much sun exposure. There used to be no greater status symbol than a deep tan. But now we are wiser and know that the sun can give you wrinkles and cause premature aging, making you appear years older than your actual age. And unfortunately it can, and often does, cause skin cancer.

Sun damage is caused by frequent exposure to the sun’s UV rays. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin, causing premature aging and sometimes cancer. UVB rays access the skin’s surface and cause sunburn.

It is a smart habit to apply sun protection (or a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher) every morning. Don’t forget lips, ears and neck as well as your scalp if you have thinning hair. You can get sunburned walking outside just as easily as lying in the sun. UV rays are strongest between 10AM and 4PM so it’s best to limit your time outside as much as possible between these times.

For those who need additional protection, such as people with very light skin, perhaps freckled, and red or blonde hair, sun block is a good option. Because children tend to burn easily, sunblock protection is prudent when it comes to protecting their delicate skin. Consider a waterproof sun product if you are going to be spending time in the water. And remember to reapply often, even in the case of waterproof sun products. Don’t forget sunglasses for protecting your eyes from the sun and look for a good quality pair which offers a 99% or 100% UV block.

Remember too, that clothing does not give you complete protection from the sun. For example, plain woven cotton has an SPF (sun protection factor) of just 4. Wool has an SPF of 22 but on a hot and sunny day, it is unlikely you will be wearing a heavy fabric like wool. Even when inside a car, be aware that car windows do not provide total sun protection either. Sunscreen is still necessary even if you don’t think you’re an “outside” person as there are few barriers that offer total protection.

As a precaution, it is a good idea to check your body regularly for any moles or warts that change color, shape, look crusty or itch. Look out also for any irritations, sores or wounds that do not heal. If you find anything suspicious, visit your doctor to rule out skin cancer. Skin cancer, if caught early, can be successfully treated. Skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body but the most common places are the parts most often exposed to the sun, such as the head, face, neck, arms and legs. The chest is a common skin cancer risk area for men and the backs of legs more common for women.

Tanning beds can be just as dangerous as the sun. UV rays penetrate your skin, causing it to release melanin, which gives you a darker color. A tan is proof than UVA has damaged some of your skin cells. A good alternative is to use a sunless tanner. Quality tans can be achieved either in a salon or in the comfort of your own home. They provide natural results, are easy to maintain and completely safe.

Categories : Sun Care & Tanning

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