Published: 06/01/2016 - Updated: 05/16/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Summer is here and what we want more than anything is to go on vacation without worrying about getting burnt, and ultraviolet rays damaging skin. That’s why you need to take the best care possible, so I’m going to talk to you about easy ways to do this, so you can freely enjoy your vacations.
Ultraviolet rays have harmful effects on skin, even on cloudy days. That’s why you need to use an SPF according to your own needs.
Sunscreens are made to protect skin by creating a protective layer that prevents redness and damage according the levels of SPF that you apply. This means that if you apply SPF 40, it will take 40 times longer for the skin to get red, than if you hadn’t applied any sunscreen.
The most common SPF’s are:
- Low protection: SPF 10 or less
- Moderate protection: SPF 10 to 20
- High protection: SPF 20 to 40
- Very high protection: greater than 40
Anyone that is exposed to the sun, regardless of their skin type, should use sunscreen. Even if you want to tan, because even though it may not seem like it, sun rays are very harmful. That’s why we recommend sunbathing only during the appropriate times, and keeping in mind that the whiter your skin, the more likely you’ll need to use a higher SPF. Even when using sunscreen, you need to be careful not to expose yourself to the sun for too long.
Be careful with your sun exposure
The best times to sunbathe are before 11 in the morning, or after 4 in the afternoon, using appropriate sunscreen, of course.
Keep in mind that using sunscreen protects the sin but this doesn’t mean that you can stay under the sun for longer. You’ll even need to reapply sunscreen several times to make sure it’s working properly.
Protect the most sensitive areas
UV rays don’t know if you’re wearing clothes or not. Even though we can clearly see that we only burn on exposed areas, the sun affects the entire body. That’s why it’s important to apply sunscreen on the entire body, and to pay more attention to areas that have more delicate and sensitive skin, like the neck, eyelids, and the generally whiter areas.
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Protect yourself every two hours
You need to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you’re exposed to the sun, and every two hours afterwards. This could vary depending on your level of sun exposure, or if you sweat a lot, or if you went swimming. In these cases, you’ll need to apply more frequently in order to be sure it’s working. Remember that even though it may be a cloudy day, you are not free from burning and the secondary effects of UV rays.
Avoid exposing yourself to sun if you burn
Whenever your skin turns red, this is a sign that you have surpassed the body’s ability to adapt to the sun, and you will need to hydrate with no more sun exposure. There are products that help alleviate burns that moisturize and refresh the affected area. Once the situation is controlled, you can once again go out in the sun, being a little more careful.
You can use makeup after sunscreen
A lot of women prefer not to use sunscreen because they think that just applying makeup will negate sunscreen’s effectiveness. This is not true. Once your skin has absorbed your sunscreen, you can apply your makeup as normal.
Not only during vacations
Sidewalks, the pavement, and most anything in general will reflect UV rays in cities. That’s why you should use sunscreen not only when you’re on vacation, or want to tan. It’s important that you use sunscreen every day and protect your skin from the effects of the sun at all times.
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Everyone is vulnerable
Especially children and the elderly are at greater risk during sun exposure. Children are sensitive because they are young, and tend to get burnt or sun damaged more easily. In regards to the elderly, they generally get skin marks caused by radiation and UV rays throughout their lives, which makes them more susceptible to diseases like skin cancer.
Not all is bad when talking about the sun
The sun definitely has its harmful effects on health, and you need to be careful when going out in the sun. But it also has its positive effects as well, like providing vitamin D to the body, which sets calcium in the bones. It also has anti-depressant effects, and is in charge of synthesizing vitamin A, among other benefits.
So now you know. Get ready to enjoy the sun this summer, and don’t forget to wear the appropriate sunscreen.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 05/16/2018
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