Back in the 1980’s sunscreen was used by sunbathers to get a nice tan. Today, it is used by anyone who wants to protect their skin from the sun’s dangerous rays. It’s never too late to begin to protect your skin from the sun. This brief article lists common signs of sun damage and “how you can protect yourself from the sun. We will also answer “Why is sunscreen so important” and conclude with a couple of frequently asked questions (FAQ).
What are some common signs of sun damage?
Most adult Americans already have some form of sun-damaged skin. Ultraviolet rays (UVA & UVB) from the sun cause skin aging, wrinkling, blotchiness, and even cancer. UVA rays are intense and cause the majority of the sun exposure hazards. UVB rays are dangerous as well, causing sunburn and cataracts in the eyes. Intense UVB exposure has also been a contributor to melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. Always seek medical attention for serious burns. Get checked by your family doctor or dermatologist regularly and discuss if you have any of these signs. Common signs and warnings of damaged skin include:
Dark or red spots
Skin that has lost its stretchiness
Lines or wrinkles on your skin
Visible blood vessels
How can I protect myself from sun damage?
Even though you may already have sun damage, it is important to protect yourself from future sun damage and exposure. Here are 5 simple steps that can significantly help reduce sun damage including:
Don’t lay out in the sun or use tanning booths.
Always apply sun protection sprays or creams every day
Stay out of the sun as much as possible between 10 AM and 4 PM.
Wear sunglasses with UVA & UVB ratings
Wear clothing to protect your skin
Why is sunscreen so important?
If you have been reading this article from the beginning you already know the answers to this question. Even though you most likely have some sun damage to your skin, it is never too late to prevent further damage. Here are 4 obvious reasons why sunscreen is so important.
It helps protect you from harmful UVA/UVB sun rays
It can help reduce your chances of skin cancer
It can help reduce the visible effects of aging skin
Existing skin conditions like rosacea and eczema can be made worse by continued sun exposure.
Frequently asked questions about sun protection
With all of this knowledge, there are still a few questions people ask about exposure to the sun and how to prevent further damage.
Can I get a sunburn on a cloudy day? YES - While it might not be hot and bright outside, UVA sun rays pass through clouds. You may be at a lower risk of burns, but your skin is still exposed to dangerous UVA rays which can damage the skin.
Do I need to use sunscreen daily? YES - dermatologists agree that the sun’s UVA 7 UVB rays can lead to skin diseases and have a negative impact on existing skin conditions. Using sunscreen daily can help improve the appearance of your skin and potentially increase the health of your body’s largest organ; your skin.
Will a suntan protect me from future sunburn/damage? NO - A tan is a sign of skin damage and will NOT help protect the skin.
Can a severe sunburn increase my risk of skin cancer? Yes - If you were severely burned by the sun’s rays when you were a child or teenager, you may be at greater risk for skin cancer.
What is more effective, a sunscreen lotion or spray? The short answer is they are made of the same ingredients BUT people who apply sunscreen spray generally apply about 25% of what is needed for effective protection. By its nature, sprays apply a thinner coat because the user only spends a couple of seconds spraying their body. It is recommended to apply the spray to the hand and then rub the sunscreen into the skin. It is generally accepted that lotions provide deeper coverage since you actually rub it in.
As always, consult a doctor when consulting about your health. Discuss your history of sunburns and the potential risks involved for you. Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about medications you take that could make you more sensitive to the sun. This article is meant to build awareness of sunburn and your skin health. It should not serve as medical recommendations which only a qualified physician should make.
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