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Sun Care For Skin Damage and Protection

Sun Care For Skin Damage and Protection

Skin protection is something everyone should be aware of, even those of us living in temperate climates when long summer days mean we can get a lot of exposure to the sun. We need to protect ourselves from potential sun damage, most importantly because from a health point of view it can cause skin cancer, and from a cosmetic point of view it can cause premature aging of our skin.

The sun can damage the human body since our skin does not have natural protection from the ultraviolet (UV) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum of the sun's rays. These UV waves penetrate deep into the skin and damage its cells which can lead to cancer. One common misconception is that the sun needs to be very hot to cause the damaging effects, but this is quite untrue. Most of us have felt the burning effect s of the sun after a day on the beach without adequate use of protective lotion or clothing but the sun can even damage our skin when it is hidden by clouds. Clouds may make it seem like the sun is safer to expose your skin to but they do not stop the harmful UV rays which is why its as important to take precautions of cloudy days even.

Sun Care For Skin Damage and Protection

Sunlight consists of a wide range of different wavelengths of radiation. Some of these we can sense - the warmth we feel in sunlight comes from Infra-Red radiation, and the light we can see comes from radiation in the visible spectrum. There are other wavelengths in sunlight that we can't see, and chief among these are those in the Ultra Violet group. There are at least three different types of Ultra-Violet radiation and these are generally referred to as UVA, UVB and UVC.

UVC Radiation: Taking these in reverse order, UVC has the shortest wavelength and although it is potentially very harmful to our skin, it is completely filtered out by the earth's atmosphere and so does not affect us.

UVB Radiation: UVB radiation is the one that causes the appearance of a tan after sun exposure. It does this by stimulating the formation of the pigment 'melanin' in the deeper layers of the skin and activates it's movement to the outer skin layers. Here it acts as an antioxidant and skin protector - it is in fact part of our natural defence against sun damage.

UVB radiation also causes thickening of the outer layers of the skin, and if exposure is taken to excess is what causes sun-burn. This should be avoided at all costs, particularly by children, as it is thought that sun-burn in early years may lead to an increased risk of skin cancer later in life.

UVA Radiation: UVA radiation is potentially the most damaging form as it penetrates deeper into the skin. In the deep basal layers of the skin UVA can damage the DNA that makes up the blueprint of each cell, and can result in mutated cells that no longer reproduce properly. This in turn may be a primary cause of some skin cancers, although they may take years or even decades to manifest themselves.

UVA also damages structures made from or containing collagen and elastin and this is one of the main causes of wrinkles and premature aging in skin that is often exposed to sunlight.

Follow these guidelines to protect your skin:
• Try and stay out of the direct sunlight between 11am and 3pm when the sun is typically at its strongest and most damaging
• Do not allow your skin to burn. Always where a sunscreen with at least a factor 15+ SPF during the day if you plan to be in the sun
• Always take extra care of children by keeping them out of the sun as much as possible, keeping them covered and make sure you cover them with a sunscreen SPF 40+. Research has shown that sunburn in childhood can greatly increase the risks of skin cancer later in life
• Cover up if necessary with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses - this is especially important in the tropics and sub-tropics

What is sunscreen and SPF?
Sunscreen usually refers to commercial products that protect the skin from  the harmful UV radiation of the sun. However, any substance that will achieve this effect can be considered sunscreen. It is best to use a commercial product since these have generally been well-tested. Sunscreens are available in several forms: topical lotion, cream, gel, or spray that can be applied to the skin; a salve stick that can be applied to the lips, nose, and eyelids; a moistener in towelettes that can be rubbed against the skin; sunglasses that protect the eyes; certain clothing that helps sun-protection (NOTE: a lot of clothing still allows harmful radiation through so this can be important). SPF is an abbreviation for Sun Protection Factor, and is a number that indicates how long a topical sunscreen remains effective on the skin. A lot of people think that SPF relates to how much protection it gives you but actually it refers more to how long it lasts. The duration of effectiveness can be calculated on an individual basis by simply multiplying the SPF by the length of time it takes for the person to suffer a burn without sunscreen.

Sun Care For Skin Damage and Protection

SPF 15: For everyday exposure for short periods of time a 15 SPF is sufficient. Sunscreens and moisturisers with 15 SPF are the least amount of daily protection you should have. Longer periods of exposure, such as going to the beach, require a higher SPF, preferably 30 or higher. If you are in high altitudes or are in the tropics and sub-tropics then always choose higher sun protection.

SPF 30: For fair-skinned people, a product with a SPF of 30+ is required. People with darker skin may use a lower SPF, usually around 15 (the lowest you should use).

SPF 45: An SPF 45+ is advisable for children, both on their face and body.

It is good to use a right skin care product to protect your skin from the sun exposure but is equally important to follow some tips to avoid any health risks. One should always keep out sun screen creams out of the eyes. It can be done simply by washing hands once the cream is applied over the skin. Adding to it, one should always go through the guidelines mentioned in the products either it for sun care, betaplex or any other.

Myotcstore Related Categories:

After Sun, Burn Relief

Sunblocks And Sunscreens - SPF 15

Sunblocks And Sunscreens - SPF 20

Sunblocks And Sunscreens - SPF 30

Sunblocks And Sunscreens - SPF 45 +

Sunless Tanning and Bronzers

Tanning Lotions, Oils and Gels

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