Healthy skin, like a healthy body begins with prevention. Exposure to the sun not only ages the skin but it also causes skin cancer.
The sun emits three forms of radiation: infrared, visible and ultraviolet. Infrared and visible light are valuable because they provide warmth and the ability to see. But ultraviolet light can be harmful. It consists of three basic wavelengths: Ultraviolet A, Ultraviolet B and Ultraviolet C. Each penetrates the atmosphere and affects our health in different ways.
So the first step towards protecting our skin would be to protect the Ozone layer. Work with the scientists around the world to do your part to keep and maintain clean air.
The next steps require daily vigilance:
- Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50 to sun exposed areas of the skin. This will protect you through a normal day of getting in and out of the car, going to the office etc.
- If you plan to be in the sun all day then use an SPF of 60 or more.
- Wear waterproof or water-resistant sunscreens if you plan to be in the water. Reapply often.
- Wear sunscreen under loosely woven clothing as the sun will penetrate the cloth. The sun also penetrates wet clothing.
- Reapply sunscreen throughout the day according to the amount of sun exposure you receive. If you are participating in sports which make your perspire, reapply sunscreens every hour.
- Be thorough in your application; sun exposed skin which in not covered will burn. Remember the back of your ears and the tops of your feet and toes!
Wear protective clothing when exposed to the sun for long periods of time: hats, gloves, long sleeves, UV protective sun glasses.
Avoid tanning beds. Fifteen minutes of exposure to UVA in a tanning bed is equivalent to three days of sitting in the sun!
A tan signifies that the sun has damaged the skin to some degree. The belief that a preliminary tan before a holiday will protect you from the harmful rays of the sun has little substance. The protection offered by a preliminary tan would only be equivalent to an SPF of 2.
Use sunscreen regularly and protect the health of your skin.