Exposure to sunlight is something everyone needs to remember when chalking out a serious skin care plan. We are exposed to sunlight every time we spend out of doors walking, swimming and any other activity with the sun for company. So the amount of sun you get during a lifetime is bound to be considerable and you really have to know how to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun.
So, what are the so-called harmful effects that one needs to know before you reach for a sunscreen or a sun block? Here they are:
A fact not probably known to all is that all ultra-violet radiation is cumulative and that every hour of sunlight a person gets whether at age one or fifty adds up. But we did not realize until fairly recently that an hour of radiation is far more damaging to a child than to an adult. Of course if you can stay out of the sun for several years, your skin will recuperate to some extent. But the harm caused by any period of exposure can never be completely reversed. So children should be taught to use sunscreens.
Excessive sun and tan darkens the skin complexion and color. It can also dry up the skin of its fluid, thereby affecting the finesse of the texture. Certain medications like birth control pills, blood pressure drugs react unfavorably in sun, causing pigmentation or red irritation spots. Daily exposure to the sun even in very small doses and in more cloudy climates can lead to long-term effects that increase our apparent age. The part of the sunlight that causes most damage to the skin is called ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Acute over-exposure to the sun results in sunburn. Intense redness is produced by increased blood flow due to the release of chemicals by damaged cells. Constant exposure to sunlight causes the melanocytes (skin cells that contain the black pigment, melanin) to become chronically over-active, resulting in areas of excessive melanin in the skin. These form brown spots called freckles. Sun damage is cumulative. All the doses of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) received by the skin, large or small, add up: the total dose leads to skin wrinkling, altered pigmentation and skin cancer.
There is no such thing as a 'healthy tan'. Tanning is a response to skin injury by UVR
Sun Skin Care Tips
- Avoid sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Plan outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon.
- Even the most potent sunscreen products still allow a lot of radiation to reach the skin. For a total block, use a sun block. They are opaque materials that block and scatter light. These ointments are given a flesh color tint for more aesthetic appeal.
- The ability of a sunscreen product to absorb radiation is defined by its sun protection factor (SPF). Use a good-quality skin care product, such as a moisturizer containing sunscreen ingredients with an SPF factor of at least 15, and active against UVA and UVB. Use it regularly, everyday
- To get the maximum protection from your sunscreen, apply at least one large handful about 30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply after swimming, toweling dry or participating in any vigorous activity that causes heavy perspiration.
- The regular, daily use of modern cosmetic products can potentially be very important in skin care. Among the most useful ingredients are sunscreens, and clothing, hats and sunglasses can all act as effective sun screens.
- Home-Made Sunscreens for Children: Here is a homemade remedy to tackle the sun: Use calamine lotion and baby lotion (equal quantity) to which is added a pinch of zinc oxide, before your child goes into the sun. An hour before your child goes into the sun - mix vinegar with olive oil in equal quantities and apply to the areas exposed, leave for an hour and then wash off with mild soap. This prevents sunburn.