For people who prefer to exercise outdoor or swim at the sea, it is important to know the damaging side of sun. Contrary to belief, a tan is not a sign of good health. If skin is exposed to sunlight for long hours, redness may develop. So, suntan is a condition showing skin damage. The pigment is a response as a shield to slightly decrease skin damage. Severe sunburn causes skin tenderness, pain, swelling and blistering.
It is impossible to completely avoid sunlight, but you should know about the precautions that you can take. Before we talk about preventive measures, let’s understand a little bit more about sun light – UVA and UVB rays:
- UVA rays’ damage does not show up immediately. They do not cause painful sunburn, but they penetrate the skin more deeply and their effects are long lasting. They account for about 95% of all ultraviolet energy and release energy throughout the daylight hours. UVA’s have the power do permanent damage to the elastin and collagen fibers that make our skin firm and healthy. They can pass through all glass including windows, windshields, and sunglasses.
- UVB rays burn your skin. Though they do not delve as deep into the skin’s layers as UVA’s, UVB is the main cause of skin cancer. UVB is not able to pass through glass but they do reflect off light colors such as sand, white decks and snow.
How To Reduce The Chance Of Getting Skin Cancer?
- Between 10 AM to 4 PM, when UV rays are the strongest, one should seek shade. One easy way to find out is to look at your shadow. If you shadow is shorter than you are, you are likely to get sunburn. By knowing the time, you should plan your outdoor activities accordingly.
- If you have to go outdoor, wear a hat with wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck. A shade cap (which looks like a baseball cap with about 6 inches of material draping down the sides and back) also is good. Baseball cap should be the second choice because it will not give you the coverage you need.
- Wear appropriate clothings:
- Wear protective clothes such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Dark colors provide more protection than light colors by preventing UV rays from reaching your skin.
- Can consider wearing sun protective clothing at the beach. These clothes are categorized using UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating.
- For guys or girls who want to show off their hard trained bodies at the beach, use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher for both UVA and UVB protection.
- SPF indicates how long you can stay exposed to the sun without burning. If you begin to tan or burn after 10 minutes, SPF of 15 extends your protection 15 times longer, which is 150 minutes or 2.5 hours. If you are “burnt” fast, invest in higher SPF. Sunscreens are available as lotions, creams, ointments, gels, and wax sticks.
- If you are swimming, go for SPF with “waterproof” or “water resistant” label.
- Use Sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside in order for the sunscreen to take effect.
- If you are swimming or sweating profusely, you may want to reapply the sunscreen every now and then. Sunscreen is usually rubbed off when you towel yourself dry. You should not wait till your skin is turning red then only reapply because a sunburn may take up to 24 hours to appear fully.
- Do not be fooled by cloudy skies. Clouds only block as much as 20% of all UV radiation. Also, just because you swim in the water, you are still not safe against UV rays.
- If you want to get tanned yet worry about the damaging side of the sun, you can forget about tanning bed too. UV rays from artificial sources of light like the one used in tanning beds can still cause skin cancer and should be avoided. Tanning salon use bulbs emit mainly UVA.
The next time you want to exercise outdoor, play safe and do not let the sun take you down.
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