The sun is glorious and most of us delight in it and want to make the most of it when we get it!
That doesn’t however mean we shouldn’t be careful.
We need to protect ourselves from the effects of the sun that can damage the DNA in our skin cells and lead to cancer.
UVB and UVA
The sun’s ultraviolet light is made up of:
• UVB rays which can cause sunburn and play a key role in developing skin cancer.
• UVA rays which can cause skin damage that leads to tanning as well as skin aging and wrinkles.
You need to ensure your sun lotion protects you from both UVB and UVA so check the labelling on any sun products you purchase.
What does the SPF number mean
It tells you how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product versus the amount of time without any sunscreen.
For example, SPF 30 would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen, whereas SPF 50 would take you 50 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sun lotion.
However, products with very high SPFs often create a false sense of protection.
False sense of protection
People who use them tend to stay out in the sun much longer and often skip reapplying them. They may also believe they don’t need to seek shade, wear a hat or cover up with clothing.
Their false sense of protection could end up causing them more sun damage.
People who have a history or high risk of skin cancer, genetic diseases or certain immune disorders, need to be even more cautious as do those hiking or skiing at high altitude or taking a holiday near the equator.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended outdoor activity. Regardless of the SPF, though, it’s important to apply one ounce (two tablespoons) 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
• Don’t just rely on sun lotions.
• Seek shade
• Cover up with clothing
• Wear wide-brimmed hats
• Use UV-blocking sunglasses.
• Enjoy the sun but just stay safe too.