Sun Exposure, SPF and Sunscreen

What do you know about sun exposure? You do know that too much of it is bad for your skin, right?

Yes, it's true. Minimizing the amount of sun your skin is exposed to and you'll be reducing the chances of developing sunburn, skin cancer and cataracts. And you will also reduce the chances of your skin becoming damaged and wrinkled.

So you can see why it's important to limit your sun exposure.

The sun gives out three types of ultraviolet light: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA is responsible for 15 to 24% of sunburns and is more important in aging. UVB is responsible for 75 to 85% of sunburns.

An easy way to distinguish between the two kinds of ultraviolet light is UVA ages and UVB burns skin. And as for UVC, well, it does not reach the surface of the earth so we can forget about it.

It's essential to protect your skin from the sun no matter what type of skin you have. Sure, white skin that sunburns easily is at greater risk of skin cancer from sun exposure, but dark skin is notimmune to skin cancer even if this type of skin rarely burns.

If you must go out in the sun, use sunscreen.

You'll have heard the term SPF. That's short for sun protection factor. It refers to the ability of sunscreens to prevent sunburn. Remember that SPF is not a true measure of a sunscreen's ability to protect the skin. This is because laboratory tests, not natural sunlight, have been used to determine SPF values.

An SPF of 15 or more is recommended to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun's rays. But the relationship between SPF numbers and sun safety isn't that simple. For example, an SPF of 15 gives you 93% protection, but an SPF of 34 gives you 97% protection.

Here's what you can do to protect your skin from the sun:

Seek shade (unless you value sunbathing over your health).

*Reduce sun exposure between 10 am and 4pm.

*If you can't or won't stay out of the sun during this time, then cover your arms and legs.

*Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UVA protection.

*Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more with UVA and UVB protection. If you are spending a longer period in sunlight, use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.

*If you have had an allergic reaction to sunscreens, avoid benzophenones and PABA.

*Check moles and freckles for any changes.

*Keep babies under one year out of the sun and avoid sunscreens in babies less than 6 months.

*Avoid tanning parlours and sunlamps. There's no such thing as a safe tan because a tan is evidence of sun damage.

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