Best ways to protect your skin from the sun

Woman sunbathing.

Do you like to spend a vacation at the beach?

How about hiking in the mountains?

Then you are one of the millions who enjoy outdoor activities.

However, a word of caution: This often means added exposure to the sun.

Is there any danger in that?

If so, how can you protect yourself?

Bad effects of excessive exposure to sun

Your skin is the largest and one of the most visible organs in your body.

Your skin helps to protect your body against dehydration and to keep you warm.

It enables you to sense cold, heat, pain, and vibration, as well as rough or smooth surfaces.

Your skin also plays an important role in the production of vitamin D, which is essential to bone formation.

This production of vitamin D takes place with the help of sunlight.

However, there is increasing danger in excessive exposure of the skin to sunlight.

Solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface is composed of infrared and visible light, as well as ultraviolet light in the A and B ranges (UVA and UVB).

Fortunately, the atmosphere absorbs the cosmic rays, gamma rays, and X rays produced by the sun.

The atmosphere’s ozone layer effectively blocks ultraviolet C radiation (UVC) and filters out most of the UVA and UVB.

Unfortunately, this ozone layer is breaking down in places.

Many scientists blame certain refrigerants and aerosol propellants for the problem.

In any case, exposure to the sun is becoming ever more dangerous to your health.

Besides giving you a sunburn, ultraviolet rays can cause brown spots and progressive thickening and drying of your skin.

Ultraviolet can also weaken your skin’s elastic fibers, resulting in premature aging, including those dreaded wrinkles.

Worse yet, excessive ultraviolet exposure can interfere with your body’s immune system and may lead to the development of lesions and skin cancer.

As if this were not enough, damaged or diseased skin affects your appearance and may, in some cases, contribute to feelings of insecurity and even depression.

What can you do?

Your skin needs day-to-day protection from the sun as much as it does during brief periods of intense exposure.

What can be done?

Besides wearing protective clothing and limiting the time you are exposed to the sun, you can follow the advice of experts who recommend the use of a sunscreen.

How can you choose an effective sunscreen?

Check the sun protection factor (SPF) indicated by the manufacturer.

The higher the number, the greater the protection.

People with light skin need sunscreens that have a higher SPF number than those with a darker complexion need.

A note of caution: The SPF refers only to a sunscreen’s protection against UVB radiation.

Therefore, give preference to broad-spectrum sunscreens, which also provide a measure of protection against UVA radiation.

Children, particularly those with fair skin, are especially sensitive to the sun.

Moreover, children often get more exposure to sunlight than adults do.

Taking steps to protect your child’s skin from the sun during his first 18 years of life can greatly reduce his chances of developing skin cancer.

Sunlight is indispensable to life on earth.

And who does not enjoy beautiful sunny weather?

But do not be fooled by popular images portraying bronzed skin as the epitome of beauty and youth!

Protect your health—protect your skin from excessive exposure to the sun.

Natural sun protection tips

 1. Protect yourself from the sun especially between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.

 2. Even on cloudy days, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and that has a sun protection factor of 15 or greater.

 3. Avoid tanning beds

 4. Wear protective, tightly woven clothing. Dark colors give more protection.

 5. Wear a hat with at least a four-inch brim and sunglasses with ultraviolet protective lenses.

 6. Stay in the shade whenever possible.

 7. Avoid reflective surfaces, such as water, sand, and snow, which reflect most of the sun’s damaging rays.