Monday, July 7, 2008

Sun Exposure

I made a promise to hubbs and my son that we're going to the Beach this coming Summer. I won't be for sure break my promise, but the thing is.. I'm so scared of Sun exposure. According to some skin experts, exposure to sunlight prematurely ages the skin. I'm in my 30's, so my skin needs an extra extra care.

Many people love the warm sun. The sun's rays make us feel good, and in the
short term, make us look good. But our love affair isn't a two way street:
Exposure to sun causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces.
Consider this: One woman at age 40 who has protected her skin from the sun
actually has the skin of a 30-year-old!

We often associate a glowing complexion with good health, but skin color
obtained from being in the sun – or in a tanning booth – actually accelerates
the effects of aging and increases your risk for developing skin cancer.

Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal
part of aging. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers
in the skin called elastin. When these fibers breakdown, the skin begins to
sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The
skin also bruises and tears more easily -- taking longer to heal. So while sun
damage to the skin may not be apparent when you're young, it will definitely
show later in life.

How Does the Sun Change My Skin?

Exposure to the sun causes:

Pre-cancerous (actinic keratosis) and cancerous (basal cell carcinoma,
squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma) skin lesions - caused by loss of the
skin's immune function
  • Benign tumors

  • Fine and coarse wrinkles

  • Freckles

  • Discolored areas of the skin, called mottled pigmentation;

  • Sallowness -- a yellow discoloration of the skin;

  • Telangiectasias -- the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin;

  • Elastosis -- the destruction of the elastic tissue causing lines and

  • How can I reduce the risk of skin cancer from sunlight?

    Reducing Exposure

    Avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun, especially to the intense midday rays between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. during the summer. If possible, people should plan outdoor work for early morning or late afternoon, and work in the shade as much as possible. Umbrellas and parasols can protect against the direct rays from the sun.

    Wearing Protective Clothing and Sunglasses

    The use of wide brim hats and clothes made from close-knit fabric can protect the skin and scalp from ultraviolet radiation. Although long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants may not be comfortable in extremely hot weather, they do help protect the skin. Not all clothing offer the same protection. For example, a white cotton T-shirt may have an SPF of 7 while a long-sleaved denim shirt has an estimated SPF of 1700! And some fabrics like cotton lose about 50% of their SPF rating when they get wet.

    Using Protective Sunscreens

    Sunscreens should be used in addition to, not instead of, working in shade and wearing suitable clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Sunscreens are not intended to extend the exposure time to sunlight, but rather to reduce the effects of sunlight when people have to be in the sun.

    A wide variety of sunscreens are available. They all contain chemical ingredients that weaken (but do not eliminate) the effects of ultraviolet radiation. The most widely used protective chemicals are PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) and closely related chemicals such as cinnamates, salicylates, benzophenones, or anthranilates. Some sunscreens contain only one of these protective chemicals while others may have two or more for greater reliability. Products such as baby oil, cocoa butter, or skin oils that do not have protective chemicals, do not protect against sunburn, skin aging, or skin cancer.

    Manufacturers label sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF). The higher the factor, the greater the protection from the sun. A SPF of 5 indicates low protection; a SPF above 15 indicates higher protection.

    * SPF 15 sunscreen may absorb more than 92 percent of UVB radiation.

    * SPF 30 sunscreen may absorb 96.7 percent.

    * SPF 40 sunscreen may absorb 97.5 percent of UVB radiation.

    People with skin sensitive to sunlight should use a sunscreen with a high SPF, possibly in the mid 20's or higher, depending on your skin type. A sunscreen's effectiveness also depends upon its ability to withstand heat, humidity and sweat. Most sunscreens are not water-resistant and people need to reapply them after perspiring or getting wet.

    It is important to try a variety of different types of sunscreen to find out which one best suits a particular skin type and activity.

    Examining Skin Regularly

    People who work under the sun should examine their skin regularly for any unusual changes. The danger signs include any wound, sore, or patch of skin that won't heal or constantly scales. Also examine for any growing lump, particularly if brown or bluish in colour. It is important to get medical care for anything that looks suspicious rather than wait until the problem becomes untreatable.

    But if worse comes to worst, we may need to undergo Cosmetic Surgery Treatments. :)

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