Who Needs Sunblock?
by Deborah Spalla
Do you remember to put sunblock on before going out, everyday? Neither did I until I saw what happens to your skin without it. Very few people know the effects the sun has on our skin, and the long-term damage it can cause. Sagging, discoloration, and wrinkles are just some of the visual long-term effects the sun can have on your skin. But, most of the real damage is things you can’t see. For example, did you know, when you get sunburned your blood cells and vessels are being damaged? Who wants that? Not you! Not me! Here are some easy tips on how to maintain your healthy glow and avoid getting burnt to a crisp while still enjoying the sun.
Yes, sunBLOCK! Not sunscreen. Sunblock contains zinc and is formulated specifically to protect the skin from UVB rays. Sunscreens only protect you from UVA. That means sunblocks block the rays of sun while sunscreens act only as a screen and provide minimal protection. Do NOT use tanning or cooking oils as they can cause further damage to the skin.
Fun Fact: Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet light rays from the sun. These rays damage the skin’s fibers known as elastin. If you have ever had sunburn, you understand the many discomforts it causes, include a burning and discomfort-like urge to scratch the affected area. What many fail to realize is the skin’s fibers begin to break down while burning. Once the skin has altered to this new form, it is much harder to get it back to its original form, so make sure to use your sunblock.
When to Apply Sunblock:
Sunblock should be applied prior to being exposed to the sun. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) indicates the number of minutes of coverage you have before needing to apply the next coat. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the minimum recommendation for protection against skin cancer and sunburn is an SPF of 15, while the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum SPF of 30. I suggest using an SPF of at least 30 or higher, just to be safe.
The prime time to cover up while in the sun is from 10am to 2pm; hats, shawls, sunblock, you name it. If it covers your skin, use it. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, hats and clothing made of dark, tightly woven materials absorb ultraviolet light better than cotton fabrics in lighter shades. Dry fabrics can also offer more protection than wet ones. Wet clothing can still absorb sun, which can result in getting sunburn. Dry, loose fabrics make it harder for sun to access the skin.
Don’t forget the..:
Little areas such as under the chin and the nose reflect light. These areas are a must when trying to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays.
Even on the Ugly Days:Remember to apply sun protection even on the ugly weather days, as the sun’s rays are still shining through the dark clouds. Many tend to think because the sun is not fully visible that it is not harmful. But in fact, this time is the most crucial to protect the skin. Nearly 87% of the sun's rays penetrate through clouds, fog and mist. The worst sunburns can arise when least expected. Ultra-violet rays are emitted by the sun and are responsible for the change in our skin color. This can result in creating a tan, a burn, or skin cancer from overexposure.