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Jan 042010

protect skin from sunIt’s a common knowledge that sun’s rays contain ultraviolet rays that damage the skin and cause skin cancer. Also, it can advance aging signs like wrinkles and age spots and cause other skin problems too. Children are more susceptible to harmful effect of the sun than the adults as they have more sensitive skin.

While it’s not truly possible to reverse effects of the sun’s damage on the skin but further damage can be controlled through proper sun protection techniques. Here are few tips:

Avoid over exposure to sun: It’s best to avoid exposing the skin to the direct sunlight for long hours especially 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are brightest. While going out in the sun wearing tightly woven clothing would give more protection than light clothing with large weave. Only dry clothes protects from UV rays and not wet ones. While the sun glasses, beach umbrellas and wide brim hats would give some sought of protection but they will shield from the UV rays reflected from other surfaces. This is the reason for sunburns in cloud, foggy weathers too.

Use sunscreens: Using sunscreens will protect the skin from the rays that come directly from the sun and that are reflected. They absorb the ultra violet rays and prevent them from touching the skin. For best results using sun block that absorbs ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) would be helpful. It should be applied on exposed areas of the skin and especially in high risk areas like nose and lips. They come in varying degree of sun protection factors (SPFs) with a high SPF meaning better protection. Every one should use a sun screen lotion of at least SPF15. Those with fair skin, light eye and hair colors tend to get sun burnt faster, so they should use higher SPF sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied on the skin at least 20 minutes prior to exposure to the sun and on the lips at least 45 minutes. It should be reapplied frequently and necessarily immediately after swimming. For convenience, sunscreens come in various forms like moisturizers, sprays and lip balms.

Avoid sun bath and sun tan: Although tanning of the skin is protective reaction to ultraviolet rays but doesn’t give a healthy glow to the skin. The skin would develop wrinkles and sag over time. Tanning may be a protective reaction to the sun but it doesn’t give enough protection to the skin to prevent further damage. Therefore preventing sun tan is better than getting sun tanned. Those who want to get tanned for darker skin could go in for self-tanning lotions and cosmetic bronzers.

Protecting the skin from the sun damages by using sunscreens, avoid exposure to direct sunlight and avoiding sunbath and sun tanning  would result in healthy skin and youthful appearance.