Are you really protected?
Whether you are on vacation, going to work, taking your kids out, walking your dog or running errands, you can’t avoid the sun completely. There is going to be a part of you that is exposed. Be it your beautiful face or your lovely manicured hands. Every little exposure unfortunately adds up to the sun damage over time. With the coming summer time, you therefore, need to know more about the dangers of sun damage than you know about bikini styles.
There are typically two notorious sun rays that everyone must be aware of. – The UVA and UVB, which code names for ultraviolet radiation or light waves.
What is Ultraviolet Radiation?
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. These wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB, or UVC, with UVA the longest of the three at 320–400 nanometers (nm, or billionth of a meter). UVA is further divided into two wave ranges, UVA I, which measures 340-400 nanometers (nm, or billionth of a meter), and UVA II which extends from 320–400 nanometers. UVB ranges from 290 to 320 nm. With even shorter rays, most UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth .”
The UVB rays are stronger and can cause nasty burns. The UVA rays on the other hand penetrate deeper into the skin and are responsible for wrinkles and premature aging of your skin. Both types of rays lead to DNA damage, which typically results in skin cancer according the Skin Cancer Foundation. They both play a vital role in premature skin aging and wrinkles, eye damage (including cataracts), and skin cancers. They also suppress the immune system, reducing your ability to fight off these and other maladies.
What must you look for?
Most sunscreens are marketed with the term SPF. If this sounds like poison or Greek to you, don’t worry, it simply stands for “Sun Protection Factor.” SPF is not an amount of protection per se. Instead, it indicates time taken for UVB rays to redden skin when using a sunscreen, compared to how long skin would take to redden without the product. For instance, someone using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will take 15 times longer to redden than without the sunscreen. An SPF 15 sunscreen screens 93 percent of the sun’s UVB rays; SPF 30 protects against 97 percent; and SPF 50, 98 percent. The Skin Cancer Foundation maintains that SPF of 15 or higher are necessary for adequate protection.
Steps To Take When Buying Sunscreens:
- By all means stay in the shade, but if you have to go out, use a sunscreen. Whenever you are buying a sunscreen, flip the bottle and don’t be in a hurry to check the ingredients. If the label just simply says UVA/UVB Protection, wide-range or broad-spectrum, put it back. There is no way you are going to know how effective it will be. Since both UVA and UVB are harmful, you need protection from both kinds of rays.
- So look for a sunscreen with:
- An SPF of 15 or higher, plus some combination of the following UVA-screening ingredients:
- Avobenzone, so far the best known UVA filter in the United States, but it needs to be combined with a stabilizer like octocrylene to maintain its strength.
- Ecamsule (a.k.a. Mexoryl™) which is another good UVA filter that doesn’t need a stabilizer.
- Oxybenzone (trade names Eusolex 4360, Escalol 567), absorbs UVB and short-wave UVA ultraviolet rays.
- Titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide, which are both physical blockers. These reflect the UVA and UVB rays, resulting in a broad spectrum protection especially if combined with other ingredients, according to Ellen Marmur, M.D., chief of dermatology and cosmetic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Common Sense Prevention Guidelines
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- Seek the shade especially during the hottest periods of the day (10am to 4pm).
- Do not allow yourself to burn.
- Cover up with clothing and don’t laugh at people with wide hats, they are clever than you think.
- Buy and wear UV blocking sunglasses.
- Apply SPF 15 or higher sunscreen to every part of your body, not less than 30 minutes before venturing outside. Professionals advise that you should reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Don’t tan your newborn babies or take them to the beach. Only children above six months should use sunscreen, and make sure you cover their entire bodies.
- Use as much sunscreen as you can – minimum two tablespoons per application.
- Don’t taste your sunglasses by staring into the sun.
- See your physician or skin specialist at least once every year if you have enough exposure outside.
Above all, enjoy nature’s beauty and don’t feel guilty for looking sexy hott!!
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