Jun 20, 2018

Protect Your Skin in the Sun

Now that the warmest part of the year is upon us, many of us are looking forward to the long days outside, possibly going to a beach or the swimming pool. However, the sun today is more dangerous than it used to be and there are some precautions you need to take if you plan to spend a lot of time outside during the hottest parts of the day.

Skin cancer is one of the most dangerous and most deadly cancers in the world today, preceded only by breast cancer and bladder cancer. It affects anyone and doesn’t discriminate in age, race, or any other factor, and is most commonly associated with too much exposure to sun’s harmful rays which destroy the DNA and cause mutations in our skin cells. However, there are ways you can protect yourself and minimize your chances of getting skin cancer.

Avoiding UV Radiation

The majority of skin cancers are caused by the UV part of the light spectrum. This kind of light is invisible to our eyes, but it can affect our bodies. The majority of our exposure to UV radiation comes from the Sun, especially since the 20th century when our industrial activities started destroying the ozone layer, a protective film in the upper reaches of the atmosphere which absorbed the majority of it.

Since then, we have done a lot to help the ozone layer to recover, but it is a long process and the exposure to the sun is now considered dangerous in excessive amounts. However, some people may get a dose of UV radiation of our own making, in tanning salons which use the same kind of rays to tan you much quicker. Needless to say, you should avoid this practice as it is very bad for your skin and might lead to developing cancer.

Stay in the Shade

When it comes to the natural sun radiation, most experts agree that the most dangerous part of the day in terms of radiation is between 10 AM and 4 PM. However, that is also the part of the day most of us enjoy doing things outdoors, including playing sports, swimming, or simply enjoying some fresh air.
So, if you are keen on being outside during these periods, there are a few things you can do to help yourself. First of all, you need to avoid direct contact with the sun. Staying in the shade is a perfect compromise between being stuck inside all day and exposing yourself to the scorching sun at midday.

Keep in mind that UV radiation has very little to do with actual heat, so even if you are feeling cool, if you notice your skin getting red, it is the effect of the UV radiation and you need to do something about it.

Choose Proper Attire

Even though you might want to wear as few items of clothing as you can, and to keep them as short as possible, that might not be the best strategy during the hottest parts of the year. If you look at the traditional clothing of the peoples who live in regions which were historically always this hot, like the Sahara or the Arabian Peninsula, you will find that they tend to wear clothes which cover as much of their bodies as possible.

The fabrics, on the other hand, are light and enable them to sweat if necessary and the colors are white or light so as not to attract any more heat than necessary.
If you are planning to go to the beach and are concerned about wearing clothes which are deemed appropriate, there are companies which produce specialized clothes which protect against UV radiation, while fitting into the traditional idea of beachwear.

Wear Sunscreen

Sunscreen is so ubiquitously used in our culture, that we may have lost a bit of our initial knowledge about what sunscreen is and what it isn’t. First of all, it is important to know that sunscreen isn’t going to stop all of the UV rays, it is more of a filter which protects you up to a degree. That means that you cannot rely on sunscreen to keep you fully protected and safe from UV radiation if you spend the entire day in the sun.

Sunscreen should be used together with the other methods of protecting your skin from the sun. Depending on the severity of the weather, there are different protection options. Always make sure to check the expected UV index before you leave the house and apply the appropriate sunscreen to protect yourself as much as possible.

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