SUN PROTECTION IS FOR EVERYBODY
ALL AGE GROUPS AND ALL SKIN TYPES
The most important step in anti aging skin care is sun protection.
In the past, Victorian women will shun the sun as they place a lot of value on skin that is white as snow. Attitudes have since changed.
Today, people think it is trendy and healthy to sport a tan. So, they sit for hours under the sun.
There is really nothing healthy about a tan. Having one means sun damage to the skin that can make you age faster. It also increases the risk of skin cancer.
If you really must have a tan, it is important to use a good sun screen as a form of sun protection.
However sun screens is not the only way to protect yourself from the sun. There are other ways too.
Sunscreen is the best sun protection and should be worn throughout the day. UV-B is most intense around midday but UV-A which is even more damaging, is present throughout the day.
Apply sunscreens to all exposed parts of your body at least 30 minutes before going out. Re-apply every 2 hours and more frequently if you are swimming or sweating profusely.
Sunscreens are very effective and essential for sun protection. As the name suggests, it filters or blocks the sun’s ultraviolet light. They can be divided into 2 groups – physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen.
Physical sunscreens block everything out. In the past, opaque particles such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide were used to make these sunscreens. Today, many modern sunscreens use micronised zinc and titanium oxide which do not leave such an obvious trace on the skin.
Chemical sunscreens absorb light energy and dissipate it in a less harmful form.
Many modern sunscreens combine sunscreen chemicals with physical sun blocking agents to provide broader sun protection.
SUN PROTECTION TIP
For adequate daily sun protection, choose a sun screen with an SPF of 15 to 25.
The SPF refers to UV-B protection.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a universally accepted grading system for UV-A sun protection.
UV-A is responsible for tanning. In view of its damaging effects on collagen and elastin, it is very unhealthy and damaging to have a tan. UV-A penetrates the ozone layer and glass better than UV-B. Consequently, we are actually more exposed to UV-A than UV-B on a day-to-day basis.
UV rays are also responsible for causing skin cancers, such as basal cell cancers, squamous cell cancers and melanomas (cancerous moles).
Most of our lifetime dose of UV rays is accumulated during childhood. It has been established that the regular use of sunscreens with an SPF of 15 for the first 18 years of life can reduce lifetime UV dose by 80 per cent.
More importantly, the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers is reduced by 78 per cent. These findings suggest that at least 80 per cent of the sun damage is sustained during the first 18 years of life, emphasizing the importance of sun protection from an early age.
STAY IN DOORS
Limit exposure to sunlight especially between 10 am and 3 pm. This is the time when UV-B rays are the most intense. UV-A rays are, however, present throughout the day even when it is cloudy.
WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Your clothes can be a form of sun protection. Wear protective clothing. Ordinary T-shirt has an SPF of 15 but densely woven fabric that is opaque which held to the light is best. Remember, however that the SPF is reduced markedly if your T-shirt is wet.
HATS OR UMBRELLAS
Another simple sun protection measure is to wear a broad-brimmed hat or use umbrellas. Try to stay in the shade.
UV rays can reflect upwards from surfaces such pavements, sand, snow, white painted surfaces, shiny metals and water.
Sand reflects 25 per cent, water 5 per cent (sea water can reflect up to 100 per cent because of the waves) and snow 80 per cent.
UV rays can go through thin cloud, water and wet white clothing. UV-A can pass through window glass.
One more sun protection measure is to wear wrap-around sunglasses to reduce crow’s feet and prevent cataracts.