Sunblocks, Sunscreens and Protective Clothing.....OH MY, it must be SUMMER!
Now is the time of the year when most of us increase activities outdoors and because of warm temperatures, we wear less clothing. Wahoo!
It is extremely important to protect your eyes and skin from the damaging effects of the sun because it is the sun that contributes to aging skin, but more importantly it is the main cause of skin cancer!
It’s not hard to do and doesn’t take long to prepare:
1. Plan activities if possible before 10:00 a.m. and after 3:00 p.m. If you can’t arrange your schedule around these times, choose shady areas, get under a canopy or tent, or find a cave.
2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection of 100%.
3. Wear closely-woven clothing ……ideally, long trousers and long-sleeved shirts. Some clothing is rated on how well it protects you from the sun.
4. Apply a sunscreen to all uncovered skin before you go out.
Now go out and have fun!!
A little sun exposure is necessary for Vitamin D production; however, regular use of sunscreen will not result in a Vitamin D deficiency.
While preparing this article, a colleague asked a few important common questions – which sunscreen should I use and when and how frequently should I apply and reapply it?
Sunlight generates warmth (infra-red rays) that we can feel, visible light (that our eyes can see in daylight), and ultra-violet light (UVL) which we cannot see or feel but can penetrate our skin. The UVL that reaches the earth is grouped into shorter UVB and longer UVA wavelengths. Our skin makes Vitamin D from small amounts of UVB but larger amounts may cause burning or contribute to skin cancers. UVA penetrates deeper and prolonged exposure may also cause burning, premature skin aging and skin cancers. Both UVA and UVB suppress skin immune function.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. This tells us how much longer we could expect to be exposed to UVB before burning compared to no sunscreen. The higher the number, the better the expected protection. It is still being resolved internationally as to the best rate of UVA protection but meanwhile, choose a sunscreen that offers broad spectrum coverage. Never use an SPF lower than 15 because of the little value that it offers. If you have fair skin that burns easily, you should choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, e.g., 30 or more. If you have sensitive skin, look for hypoallergenic sunscreen. Plan on applying the sunscreen about one-half hour before going outdoors, and reapply it every two-to-three hours if you are sweating. If you are swimming, choose a waterproof sunscreen.
Protect the only skin you have – it needs to last a lifetime!