We’ve mentioned it plenty of times before), but protecting yourself from the sun is incredibly important for everyone. In the past, we’ve already covered the science behind sun protection, as well as the best suncreens for men. But in this article, we’re going to give you a comprehensive guide to the methods you need for sun protection.
It’s important to remember that there are two types of UV radiation, both of which are harmful to your skin in different ways. UVB radiation causes your skin to burn, is the major risk factor in skin cancer. You’re most at risk of being exposed to it on hot, sunny days.
UVA radiation can penetrate through clouds and glass, which means you’re being exposed to it when outdoors, as well as driving, or near windows in the day time. UVA rays cause damage to fibrillin molecules in the skin, which in turn leads to wrinkling and sagging. It also plays a compounding role in developing skin cancer.
The crucial things to remember when it comes to protecting yourself are three golden rules.
As advice goes, ‘cover up every day’ can certainly sound alarmist. But it really should be taken seriously. Many people think you only need to apply sunscreen or product containing an SPF when the sun is out and the temperature is high, and it is true that you’re most at risk of harm from the sun in hotter weather.
However, to stay properly shielded from UVA as well as UVB radiation, you should use a broad spectrum SPF at all times. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation advises that everyone should wear at least SPF15 every day. Aside from minimising the risk of developing skin cancer, this will play a huge role in slowing the effects of ageing.
While it’s true that you can avoid falling prey to the negative effects of the sun by wearing long clothes and sun hats, applying SPF before heading into the sun is the safest and most convenient way to ensure you’re properly protected. If applying sunscreen every day doesn’t sound too appealing to you, find a daily moisturiser enhanced with SPF.
Aside from being pretty unpleasant in the short term, burning in the sun causes damage to your skin which can lead to some extremely adverse effects in the longer term. Exposure to radiation from the sun damages the DNA of the skin cells, which can cause mutations in the skin that are at risk of becoming cancerous over time.
One way in which these mutations arise is solar keratoses. These are a common precursor to skin cancer which can be brought on or exacerbated by burning, particularly over time. These are dark, rough patches of skin that can arise after many years of sun exposure without adequate protection.
Moles, which are perfectly common in healthy people, can also be the site of cell mutations which become risk factors in skin cancer. Any sun exposure without protection increases the likelihood that these mutations will occur, but avoiding sunburn is a good a benchmark to aim for when it comes to reducing the risk.
When covering up from the sun, focusing only on obvious areas such as the face, arms, and torso is an easy mistake to make. It’s no surprise then that the areas least likely to get love from SPF are at higher risk of developing adverse reactions from sun exposure.
Try to ensure areas which the sun is likely to be shining down upon are continually covered. The top and back of your ears, the back of your neck, your forearms, and back of your legs if they’re going to exposed, are all areas which are commonly neglected but are at high risk.
In addition, protecting your lips is crucial. Think of the last time you put sunscreen on your lips. Yep, us neither. But the skin of your lips is just as prone to developing pre-cancerous mutations and skin cancer. This is particularly true of the lower lip, as it’s exposed to more sun in most people. The most convenient way to protect your lips from the sun is an SPF lip balm. This can easily be built into your daily routine, but ensures that you’re absolutely covered and that your efforts to take care of the rest of your body are not wasted.
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