Thursday, October 23, 2014

Be good to your may have to last until you are 100!

Be good to your skin-stay safe in the sun!

Do you only use one bottle of sunscreen every summer? Well, please read further and hopefully I can convince you to be more liberal with that SPF!

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
Both are ultraviolet rays that are able to penetrate your skin, but causes damage in different ways.  

UVB rays causes sunburn and can penetrate the deeper levels of the skin, damaging DNA and can trigger the growth of cancerous skin cells.

UVA rays damage the elastic fibres in the skin, causing pre-mature aging. However, according to Dr Mark Birch-Machin, senior lecturer in dermatology at the University of Newcastle- upon- Tyne, UVA light is now recognised as having the ability to radically alter the health of our skin-cell DNA, due to the free radical damage it causes, thus causing cancer.

Should one wear a sunscreen?
One should always wear a sunscreen when being outdoors, not only when tanning! However, be careful not to stay longer in the sun and so increasing the risk of burning.

“Studies are now confirming that sunscreens can protect against non-melanoma skin cancer, but keeping out of the sun completely is the best way to reduce risk”, says Dr Catherine Harwood, honorary consultant in dermatology at Barts and The London NHS Trust Centre for Cutaneous Research.  As this is not quite possible to always stay out of the sun, one should always protect oneself adequately.

Which sunscreen to use?
Sun protection creams/oils are rated according to their sun protection factor (SPF).  It refers to the amount of time a product increases your skin’s natural level of protection.  For example, SPF15 allows you to stay in the sun, without burning, 15 times longer than if you were not wearing any cream/oil, providing that you re-apply it often.

Apply a thick layer 15 to 30 minutes before going into the sun to give the skin time to absorb it.  Reapply every 2 to 4 hours and after swimming or exercise.

One should always wear a sun protection on the face, neck and d├ęcolletage, as the glare of the sun that reflects from the dashboard of your car, water, sand and other surfaces, can burn your face without you even being aware thereof.

Look at the ingredient in the sun cream.  Any word which end with –cinnamate or –salicytate protects against UVB only.  Avobenzone or Parsol 1789 protects against UVA only.  Oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide protect against both.

New legislation states that sunscreen can no longer be rated higher than 50+ and should protect agains both UVA and UVB. One should use at least a SPF25 on your face everyday if you do "normal' things, eg going shopping or just commuting to work.  If you are going to be outdoors for longer times, use a higher SPF and apply lots and lots and again and again and again......

Ageing and the sun/ sun beds.
Exposure to sun, damage and age the skin prematurely.  This has been proven via scientific studies numerous times.  Not only does it cause wrinkles, loss of elasticity and damage the skin ability to produce collagen and elastin, it also gives the skin a leather-like look and feel. Do you really want to look like tanned cowhide?

What about sun beds?
People who use sun beds are three times more likely to develop melanoma of the eye than those who never use one.  The British Medical Association is now advising people not to use sun beds. It reports that the risk of developing cancer increases by up to 20% per decade of sun bed use before the age of 65.  Makers of sun beds may tell you they are safe, but there is definite evidence to the contrary.  Both fair and dark skins can get cancer. 

In one session of 15 to 30 minutes on a sun bed, you are exposed to the same amount of damaging UVA & B rays that you would have been exposed to, if you were in the sun for one whole day, according to the American Academy for Dermatology.

A few people inherit a high-risk faulty gene, and some families tend to have large number of moles, which may increase the risk that these can become malignant. 

Other little devils
  • The sun bleach facial hair, and as your tan deepens, your facial hair becomes more obvious.

  • Sun tanning also darkens the colour of any scarring, even acne scars, making them more obvious.
  • The sun dries the skin out, resulting in dry, scaly patches appearing all over you body.
  • Extended exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays is one of the risk factors associated with eye disorders such as cataracts. Sunlight reflected from the surface of water or other reflective medium can cause conjunctivitis and keratitis.
  • Even a slight sunburn, can inflame your eyes, leaving it red and irritable.
  • Only one day of improper tanning will leave your freckles darker, more and more obvious.
  • All sun exposure accumulates over time and will sneak up on you later in life.
Caring for sun-tanned or –burned skin is a must.  It not only calms and soothes, but it also nourishes, repairs and regenerates any skin damage. Vitamin C creams are a sure way to help with the after care on sundamaged skin.

Just fake it!
There is no such thing as a healthy tan. Your "tan" is nothing but a warning sign from your skin that you are abusing it, and one should take it to heart.

Fake tanning is so easy these days, with self-tanning lotions being one of the most used products in beauty salons world wide. 

Be safe and enjoy our beautiful summer weather!

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