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Fun in the sun with protection and care
Most of us have known the pain and redness of a sunburn. Although we have a skin pigment called melanin to help protect our skin from the sun’s damaging rays, this protection is far from complete. When exposure of the skin exceeds the ability of melanin to protect it, sunburn is the result. Sunburn is better prevented than treated. If you follow these guidelines, you will be protecting and caring for your skin while still having fun outdoors.
What to avoid
- Avoid excessive exposure during the midday sun, from 10am – 4pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest and most damaging. Also, the reflection of sand, water, concrete, and white-painted areas increases the sun’s harmful effects.
- Seek the shade when you proceed outdoors. Remember that you can get as much exposure on cloudy, hazy days as you can on sunny days.
- Utilize a sunscreen or sunblock with at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. The sunscreen should contain a wide spectrum of UVA-blocking ingredients. Sunblocks prevent nearly all UVA and UVB rays (long and short wavelengths of ultraviolet light) from reaching the skin, but contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which are both white and pasty.
- Apply generously a sunscreen or sunblock 15 to 30 minutes before venturing outside, reapply every two hours – even on overcast days – and always right after exercising or swimming.
- Wear protective sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays to protect your eye and eyelids.
- Wear protective clothing that is light and tightly woven. A hat with a wide brim or long visor will provide additional protection for your facial skin and head.
- Keep your skin hydrated with a moisturizer. Summer conditions such as the sun and heat contribute to over-drying of the skin.
Sun damage, or photoaging, accounts for 90 percent of the symptoms of premature skin aging. Both UVA and UVB rays cause damage leading to wrinkles, lower immunity against infection, aging skin disorders, and cancer.
Contact your facial plastic surgeon for more information on prevention or treatment of sun-damaged skin.