Sunscreen And Why We Need It
Sunscreen is one of the fundamental means of protection for our skin as we age over the course of our lives
Sunscreen creates a barrier that protects the skin from the harmful UVA (long wave) and UVB (long wave) ultraviolet sun rays that are emitted from our bright and gleaming sun. Sunscreen works by blocking these invisible to the-eye UVA and UVB energy radiations from penetrating into the skin. Extended periods of unprotected sun exposure can harm the dermis. Some of the effects of harmful sun rays include skin cancer, sun burns, sun spots, and premature ageing of the skin.
UVA rays, also known as aging rays, do what their name suggests: age your skin!
UVA And UVB Rays
The characteristics of ageing skin include fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and dryness, and skin appears less supple and more thin and ‘’leathery”. Ageing skin also loses volume and elasticity, which results in sagging skin in addition to a variety of other undesirable symptoms. A common misconception that people have about sun rays is that if you are indoors, you are protected from UV rays. That analogy is far from the truth. In fact, UVA rays can penetrate through glass windows and doors, so if you have a home or office with windows (as in most cases), then you are exposed to UVA rays on a daily basis. Driving is also another common way that people get UVA exposure without realizing the effects that it can have on their skin over the course of many years.
UVB rays, also known as burning rays, can also prematurely age your skin. The main characteristic of UVB rays is its ability to literally burn the exposed skin. Sunburns happen to the best of us, and those who have experienced them know very well that they are quite uncomfortable and sometimes very painful. The good news is that UVB rays can be blocked by glass in windows and doors.
Broad-spectrum sunscreen is the best way to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays. Specialists recommend an SPF of 15 or more for daily protection and a SPF of 50 or more for those who undergo facial treatments that can make the skin more susceptible to harm from the UV radiation. Facial treatments typically strip the top layers of the skin, so it is essential to wear a high SPF to avoid sun damage that can occur to the newly exposed skin, resulting in even more damage to the delicate, fresh new skin. The skin on the face is damaged more easily than the body because it is an area of the body that is almost never covered by any protective clothing.
The purpose of SPF is to slow the down the rate of possible sun damage to the skin. For example, skin protected with an SPF of 15 takes 15 times longer to burn than skin with no protection. Sunscreen acts like a barrier that eventually loses its protective abilities over the course of a few hours, so it is often recommended to reapply every 4 to 5 hours if you are outdoors. Activities that cause body to perspire, like sports, exercise, and vacation tanning, may reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen much quicker. In these cases, you may need to reapply sunscreen sooner than every few hours or you may require waterproof sunscreen for longer-lasting protection. In general, the higher the SPF, the better it is at protecting the skin. Some sunscreens only contain UVA or UVB protection. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are the best form of sun protection because it provides adequate protection for both harmful UV sunrays.
Skin care experts suggest wearing at least SPF 30 daily to protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation
Why Do You Need A Sunscreen?
UVA and UVB not only damage the skin, but can also harm other areas of the body, like the eyes, from prolonged periods of direct exposure. They can weaken the immune system, cause dryness in hair and nails, and sometimes cause flare-up rashes in those with sensitive skin (e.g. like eczema), and heat sun rashes, also known as solar dermatitis.
Solar dermatitis is an allergic reaction caused by intense intervals of sun exposure (think beach vacation). The condition can result in undesirable symptoms like itchy blisters, bumps, and tiny fluid-filled papules. Itching these areas will worsen the condition, so a medical topical is usually needed. Common treatment for sun rashes include 1% hydrocortisone cream or other natural remedies like aloe vera and cold wet towel compressions. Solar dermatitis can be avoided with liberal application of broad-spectrum sunscreen throughout the day.
Sunny days are an obvious indicator to slather on some sunscreen. However, cloudy days are equally as harmful, so people should always be mindful of the invisible damage than can happen during the day.
The more dangerous of the 2 types of ultraviolet sun rays are UVB rays, known to cause the development of skin cancer. That does not mean UVA can’t and won’t cause skin cancer. The risks are just higher with UVB. Tanning beds, for example, utilize UVA rays, which in the long run damage skin cells on the deeper layers of the epidermis. UVB ray intensity varies throughout the day, so the development of skin disease can be dependant on the time and UV index of the exposure to the skin.
Physicians, dermatologists, and skin care experts alike suggest wearing at least SPF 30 daily to protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation. Even on cloudy days, almost 80% of the harmful UV rays can penetrate to the skin. Everyone is at risk, and anyone can develop skin cancer at any age. Dr. Torgerson recommends Alyria Sunscreen Lotion SPF 45 to his patients who are looking for high quality protection for the face that also provides nourishment to the sensitive facial skin. To purchase this product, click on the link below.
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