How to protect skin against sun
It is vital to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. This reduces the risk of skin cancer.
Sun damage happens when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate into the skin and damage cells. You can’t feel this happening, and it can occur even when the sun doesn’t feel very hot. Sun damage increases the risk of skin cancer, and speeds up the skin’s natural ageing process.
Everyone needs some sun to help keep their bodies healthy, but overexposure to UV radiation can lead to sunburn, premature ageing and skin cancer. The most important thing you can do to protect your skin is to make sure you don’t burn.
You can protect your skin by spending time in the shade when the sun is at its strongest (between 10am and 3pm), covering up with clothes, sunglasses and a umbrellas, and applying sunscreen to exposed skin.
Using sunscreen properly
Be liberal with your sunscreen. No matter how good and expensive your sunscreen is, if you don’t use them properly, it is of no use. If you don’t apply enough, you won’t get the protection that the bottle claims.
Make sure you cover all exposed skin, including the tops of feet, ears and the back of the neck. Here is what you should do:
- Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.
- Choose a sunscreen labelled “broad spectrum”, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with a star rating of four or five stars.
- Apply sunscreen to clean, dry skin.
- Use around two teaspoons of sunscreen to cover your head, arms and neck.
- Use at least two tablespoons of sunscreen to cover all your exposed skin.
- Re-apply sunscreen regularly (preferably every two hours) as it can come off due to washing, rubbing or sweating.
- Re-apply sunscreen after going in the water, even if it’s labelled waterproof.
- Use sunscreen along with clothing and staying in the shade to avoid getting caught out by sunburn.
- Don’t be tempted to spend longer in the sun than you would without sunscreen.
- Don’t forget to check the expiry date on your sunscreen, and don’t use it if it has expired.
Darker skin- a blessing
We are always told that fair is beautiful and dark is ugly and this is what gave birth to the endless range of whitening products. But did you know that this skin that you have been so embarrassed off protects you against the sun? Dark skinned people are less at risk of developing skin cancer and suffers less from the harmful effects of the UV rays of sunlight. The melanin pigment, which makes you dark, plays this protective role and there is less damage to your skin.
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