The sun is a wonderful thing. It provides light, warmth and energy. It reminds people of summer, happiness and even the joy of life! However, no matter how much people enjoy the sun, it can have many serious implications on your health and skin. Although you need a healthy dose of vitamine D, unprotected exposure to UV rays, can cause serious damage to your skin, but also to your eyes and even to your immune system. This damage could eventually even lead to cancer.
"Oh I really would like to have my summer-tan back!" But what is tanning exactly? When you are exposed to UV light, your skin starts to 'defend' itself by tanning. That’s because melanin absorbs the dangerous UV rays which could cause serious harm to your skin. Your skin makes melanin which is the pigment that causes tanning. Never forget that tanning does not prevent skin cancer.
How can the sun cause damage?
The sun produces energy which reaches all the way to our planet. This energy can be visible, but also invisible through infrared or ultraviolet. This last one, is the kind of energy which can harm your health and skin. There are three types of UV-rays:
1. Ultraviolet A
2. Ultraviolet B
3. Ultraviolet C
The first two are the ones that in fact reaches the Earth's Surface, UVC will be absorbed in the atmosphere.
UVA: This type of UV rays cause aging, wrinkles, fever and loss of elasticity by penetrating the skin's cortex. As the sunlight is consistent it even penetrates windows regardless of the weather. So even during rainy, cold and cloudy days you are exposed to UVA.
UVB: This type of UV rays causes skin cancer. It burns the skin by approaching the stratum basal of epidermis or the upper dermis.
How do you protect yourself from damage?
There are many ways on how to protect yourself from UV-rays. The best way is to limit your sun-exposure by staying inside as much as possible. But let's be realistic, you cannot always hide from UV-rays. So the best and easiest way is to use a small amount of sun protection every day (!!), no matter how rainy or cold it is.
Sunscreens protect your skin from both UVA rays and UVB rays. It consists out of two components: SPF, also known as Sun Protection Factor and the PA.
Sun Protection Factor: The SPS tells you how effective the sunscreen blocks UVB. Sunblocks contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that physically scatter and reflect UVB light. Sunblock with SPF above 40, blocks around 98% of the UV rays.
PA: The PA tells you how effective the sunscreen blocks UVA. You can see it by the number of plusses. The most effective sunscreens are labeld with PA++++.
To sum it up:
Now you know how harmful the sun can be, you should apply a small amount of sun screen to your skin every day. Even when you are inside during cloudy and rainy days, you are exposed to UV-rays. It's an unusual habit and even sounds a little bit odd, but this is the best way to prevent implications such as wrinkles, pigmentation and even skin cancer.
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