If you are a fan of the Discovery Channel or enjoy watching documentaries, I’m sure you must have seen some of facts on how the sun keeps us going, and how sunspots and sun flares makes our lives more difficult and how the sun is going to be around for a lot longer than us. Fascinating stuff! Besides, no sun, no tanning for all of us sun worshippers and who the heck wants to stick around then. Yes, we know we should be more careful, but when it’s glorious sunshine outside not even the best TV program is going to keep you indoors.
From personal experience I am quite sure we have all learned that you can’t get cheeky with the Sun either. I have always slathered on the sun screen regularly over the years and it’s not that I’m such a goody-goody, I have just learnt faster from bitter experience and I am a real baby when it comes to pain. Besides, sunburn will interfere with all those other things you want to enjoy on holiday!
Some macho men also tend to forget or ignore that they could actually get sunburnt and by evening they have painful sunburn wherever they were exposed to the sun. Some rather sensitive spots have been known to be quite untouchable for a few days. Not a pretty sight! Come on, it’s not that difficult or time consuming, so slap on the sun screen and be done with it.
A person with fair skin would need to be more aware of re-applying sun screen during the day because they will burn sooner and as we perspire or swim, some of the protection will be lost as well. If your skin is darker and you normally don’t burn, you still need to use sun screen to protect against sun damage which will only show up years later and cost you a lot of time and money to repair! Grandma was absolutely correct when she said that prevention was better than cure.
Whether you are showing off your best assets at the pool or beach, watching rugby, screaming down a mountain on your bike or being cool driving with the top down in your latest sports car, cover up darling, it’s the right thing to do.
The Sun’s Rays
The sun’s ultraviolet rays are divided into two categories, which are UVA and UVB light.
UVA rays penetrate deeply and will cause long term damage to the skin, skin cancer and most of the UV radiation we get is from UVA rays.
UVB rays are shorter waves and they are the little gremlins that cause sunburn and also skin cancer in the longer term.
Whereas the SPF number stated on your sunscreen bottle only protects against UVB light, it is important to find the statement that proclaims the product protects against both UVB and UVA light. In this manner you are protected against deeper penetrating light as well as shorter wave light.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor)
Keep in mind that the SPF number on your sunscreen only measures UVB rays, and when buying sunscreen always read the label. New legislation demands more information as whether it protects against both types of ultraviolet rays.
South Africa does have lots of sunshine, so there are a wide variety of products available and the formulas are likely to contain both a chemical as well as a physical sunscreen. A chemical sunscreen would be an ingredient like avobenzone which absorbs both UVA and UVB rays, or mexoryl which is an effective UVA blocker, but they need stabilizers like Helioplex to prevent breakdown and loss of effectiveness.
A physical sunscreen would contain an inorganic compound such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They form a physical block on the skin and reflects the UV rays. These are the most effective ingredients for sun protection.
CARE – The Best Way to ensure a hassle-free skin
C – cover up with suitable clothing and adequate sunscreen
A – avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm to ensure you don’t burn
R – rub on an effective broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun screen on all exposed parts of the body
E – examine your skin regularly and go see your dermatologist or a Skin Renewal clinic to check for potential problem areas.
Have a wonderful carefree summer!