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The Damaging UV

Posted on June 14 2017

Excessive exposure to UV rays and sunlight can causes abnormalities in the DNA and genes that is detrimental to skin health and it is therefore important to ensure that our skin is protected at all times.

These are the guidelines you should follow to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays; by incorporating these into your daily routine, you can fully protect your skin and keep skin healthy.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

Seek shelter when the sun is at its strongest during the mid-day hours of 12pm to 4pm. Not only will you find it more comfortable in the shade, you will prevent your skin from being over-exposed to UV rays as well. 

Avoid both natural and artificial tanning as it is essentially prolonged and excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays. The lighting used in tanning beds emit harmful ultraviolet radiation and the proximity of these lights to your skin will damage your skin even further.

Shield yourself with protective attire such as a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved tops and long pants and sunglasses that offer defence against UV radiation if you have to head out under the sun, be it for a picnic, hike or a day out at Gardens By The Bay.

Hide under an umbrella that comes equipped with UV-blockers. Opt for one that is wider and more downward sloping to more effectively offer more protection from sunlight and UV rays.

Visit your doctor for regular skin check-ups to identify any abnormal growths or moles. Remember, most skin cancer is treatable and non-fatal so it will be best to detect any irregularities early.

Sunscreen

There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, and both work to cause damaging abnormalities to your skin that in turn lead to skin cancer. Sunscreen is made up of several ingredients that come together to effectively protect your skin against these two types of ultraviolet radiation.

How sunscreen works

It has been recommended that everyone use a sunscreen with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) level of 15. How SPF level in sunscreen works is that it determines the duration at which the skin turns red; for example, using a sunscreen with SPF 15 level will prevent your skin from turning red by 15 times, so if your skin usually reddens within 30 minutes, it will now turn red after about 7½ hours.

Type of Sunscreen to Use

To fully protect your skin from both UVA and UVB, select a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF level of 30. Have 2 different types of sunscreen ready for daily use and for sports where you will most likely be exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time.

For use during swimming, select sunscreen that is water-resistant; there are 2 types of such sunscreens – ‘water-resistant’ will effectively offer protection for 40 minutes while the ‘very resistant’ type will protect from UV rays for up to 80 minutes.

Children – there is a special range of sunscreen catered to children and these usually contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that not only provide essential protection from UV radiation but is also better suited to children’s sensitive skin.

Rosacea or allergy-prone skin – stay away from sunscreens that contain fragrances or alcohol as these may cause further irritation and aggravate the already delicate skin condition.

Acne skin – sunscreen in gel form is the best type for those with acne-prone skin to use. Stay away from oily sunscreen in the cream form as those will make the skin greasy which in turn will cause breakouts.

Important Notes On Using Sunscreen

  • In order to ensure that you thoroughly protect your skin through the use of sunscreen, take note to apply it liberally to your skin and remember to reapply every 2-4 hours, according to how much you perspire. You should reapply sunscreen on children more often as their skin is thinner and are therefore more sensitive, requiring more and constant protection.
  • We tend to overlook certain areas of the body when applying sunscreen. However, it is crucial to cover all exposed areas on the body such as on the ears, behind the ears, lips and neck.
  • It will be best to apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you head out as it will take that amount of time for the sunscreen to soak into the skin.
  • The shelf life of your typical bottle of sunscreen is about 2-3 years and sunscreen that has expired will lose its effectiveness. It is therefore important to take note of this before you start slathering it onto your skin.
  • Sunscreen should be used in addition to the abovementioned preventive measures for maximum protection.

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