Over recent years, we have all become more aware of the damage that direct sunlight can have upon the skin. Although most people love the idea of spending time outside in the sizzling sunshine, it is vital that the necessary steps are taken to protect the skin from harmful UV (ultra-violet) rays from the sun.
Apart from the obvious burning, allowing UV rays to penetrate your skin can result in skin cancers. It can also cause skin to lose its elasticity, resulting in premature wrinkles and poor skin appearance. You could end up with blotchy, dry skin, and if you burn severely you could end up with scarring as well.
Sun protection is vital for those who plan to spend time out in the sun, whether it’s on vacation or whether you’re working. There are a number of ways in which you can protect yourself against sunburn and UV damage. These include:
~Covering up well and ensuring that your arms and legs are not exposed to the heat.
~Wearing a hat to protect the delicate skin on the face from the sun’s rays.
~Spending some time in the shade and out of direct sunlight, particularly the midday sun.
~ Using sunscreen or sun-block to protect against UV rays.
One of the most important steps that must be taken is the use of sunscreen. This comes in the form of lotions, sprays and creams which can quickly be absorbed in to the skin. You can also get sunscreen in a stick form for application on the lips. You should apply sunscreen to any part of your skin that is likely to be exposed to the sun, including the face, neck and hands.
The SFP (sun protection factor) that you select when you buy a sunscreen will depend upon how sensitive your skin is to the sun and also how long it normally takes for you to burn. If you are going to be out in the sun for a while and you know that you start to burn quite quickly, then you may want to go for a higher factor sunscreen which will protect you for longer without frequent re-application.
Similarly, if you have sun-sensitive skin you should also select a sunscreen with a higher SPF and preferably a dermatologically tested one that is designed for sensitive skins. It goes without saying that children, who will have very sensitive skin, should be protected by a sunscreen with a suitably high SPF. The higher the SPF of the sunscreen the more UV rays it will absorb and the longer it will protect you for. You should also be aware that there are sunscreens that protect against UV-A rays and sunscreens that protect against UV-B rays. There are also sunscreens that protect against both of these, and these are the best ones to go for if you want the most effective protection.
Some sunscreens do not absorb totally into the skin for a while, and you should therefore apply your protection a short while before you venture out into the sun (approximately half an hour or so). Most sunscreens will have to be re-applied every couple of hours to maintain their protection levels. Also, if you have been for a dip in the pool or if you have been sweating a lot you should re-apply your protection.
It is possible to enjoy your time in the sun safely, providing you take the right precautions to protect your skin from damage. Try and limit your time in direct sunlight, cover up as much as possible and make sure you are wearing a good sunscreen, which you should re-apply as necessary.
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