The sun is both a friend and an enemy of man, here such a concept as a measure comes to the fore. You should not constantly avoid the sun, but you also need to expose your body to it in a dosed manner.
A small amount of ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight naturally boosts vitamin D synthesis and enhances mood by raising serotonin levels in the body. However, if no efforts are taken to combat UV radiation, it can result in sunburns, skin cancer, and skin damage.
The growth in the prevalence of skin cancer over the last several decades has been significantly linked to the increased popularity of outdoor sports and recreational exposure. Overexposure to sunlight is commonly regarded as the root cause of negative effects on the skin, eyes, and immune system.
The World Health Organization has classified UV as carcinogenic to humans since it has been shown to have a role in the development of the three main kinds of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (basal cell carcinoma), squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
WHO Experts estimate that four out of every five instances of skin cancer might be avoided since harmful ultraviolet rays exposure is generally preventable.
What Exactly is UV Radiation?
UV, or Ultra Violet, radiation is a group of invisible rays emitted by the sun along with visible light and solar thermal energy. UV rays are classified as UVA, UVB, and UVC. The ozone layer protects humans from the most damaging form of radiation, UVC. UVA and UVB are the two forms of radiation that may penetrate the ozone layer and have the greatest impact on people:
- UVA rays cause hyperpigmentation, sunburn, and skin cancer.
- UVB rays can accelerate skin aging and cause skin cancer.
While both forms of UV radiation can cause skin damage, UVB rays are more likely to cause skin cancer, including melanoma.
Limit Your Time in the Noon Sun
The sun’s UV rays are at their greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Limit your sun exposure as much as possible during these hours.
Sunburn and tanning significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer, including such aggressive ones as melanoma. Premature aging of the skin also happens as a result of sun exposure: it becomes less elastic and wrinkles form. For example, this occurs around the age of 40 among fair-skinned persons who spend a lot of time in the sun. You must shield yourself from the sun.
Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From the Sun
The basic measures developed by the Sun Wise School Program can make all the difference. The best protection is provided by shade, clothes, and hats. Nevertheless, proper sunscreen is required for those portions of the body that remain exposed, such as the face and hands. Sunscreen should never be used as an excuse to increase sun exposure.
You may decrease your exposure to UV radiation by taking a few easy precautions:
Keep an Eye Out For the UV Index
The intensity of ultraviolet radiation is determined by the value of the UV index. The higher the UV index, the more active the sun is and the higher the risk of unwanted side effects.
UV index assists you in planning your outside activities to avoid overexposure to the sun’s rays. However, take extra precautions to shield yourself from the sun when the UV index indicates moderate or higher exposure levels.
Plan your day, for example, using a mobile weather app that shows the UV index in real-time. If the indicator is more than 3, then you need to use sunscreen with a level of at least SPF 15. More information regarding the UV Index, as well as a forecast for your specific location, may be found on the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/sunsafety/uv-index-1.
Stay in the Shadows
When UV rays are at their strongest, seek shelter, but bear in mind that shade structures such as trees, umbrellas, or canopies may not provide total sun protection.
A simple test helps to understand the intensity of solar radiation. If the shadow of a person is shorter than the height of the person, then the sun is active, and it is necessary to stay in the shade or take protective measures.
Being in the shade of a beach umbrella is not complete protection, since up to 84% of ultraviolet rays are reflected from the sand and reach the skin without hindrance.
Try not to be in direct sunlight, especially from 10 am to 4 pm. And remember that UVA rays, the ones that mainly lead to early skin aging, penetrate glass.
Protecting the Skin With Clothing
Protect your skin by wearing suitable clothing if you have to be in the sun for an extended period of time.
There is a prevalent misperception that any clothes would reliably shield the skin from UV rays. However, this is not the case. It is essential to pay attention to both the type of clothing and the properties of the fabric from which it is created.
Dyed, especially with natural hues (green, brown, and beige), or dark clothing defends against sunlight better than white clothes. However, dark clothes heat up more,, increasing the heat load on the body. Two-layer fabrics provide double the protection. Thick clothes are recommended.
Fabrics made of cotton, linen, and hemp retain ultraviolet well, but fabrics made of natural silk do not protect against solar radiation. Polyester absorbs ultraviolet as much as possible.
There are also clothes that are specifically designed to protect against ultraviolet rays. How well it works can be found using UPF – UV protection factor: 15-24 – good protection, 25-39 – very good, 40 and above – excellent.
Protect your scalp by wearing headgear: a hat, or headscarf. Remember the skin of the ears, they will be protected by the shadow of a wide-brimmed hat. The skin of the neck especially needs protection, this is the least protected part of the body. Choose clothes with a collar that can be turned up, or tie a scarf or headscarf around your neck.
Remember that clothing cannot provide 100% protection, if the light is visible through the fabric, it means that it transmits UV.
Use of Sunscreen For External Use
The modern industry offers a wide variety of products that can protect you against dangerous solar radiation. However, not all of them are equally effective. You should select only those options that indicate the protection factor (SPF) with a value of 30 or more.
Many people believe that using a cream, serum, or gel is only necessary when sunbathing on the beach. In reality, in a city or in a forest, the impact of ultraviolet radiation is no less than on the banks of a river or sea.
It is important to correctly apply the selected funds, saving in such a matter is completely unproductive. When on the beach or in nature, you need to apply your cream or lotion to your entire body. And in everyday practice, it is enough to apply the lotion to open areas (face, arms, legs, neck, ears). It is recommended to use approximately 2-3 milligrams of the composition per 1 square centimeter of the skin surface. On average, one procedure should take between 28 and 35 milliliters.
The treatment should be repeated at least once every 120 minutes if you are constantly exposed to the sun. Because not all of these items are moisture-resistant, it is recommended to additionally use them after swimming, especially in salty seawater.
Furthermore, one must remember, that it is harmful to actively sunbathe for more than two hours in a succession.
Use of Sunglasses
Even if you wear contact lenses that block UV light, you still need sunglasses. Otherwise, the risk of developing malignant tumors in the eye area increases. Without UV protection, cataracts or macular degeneration are more likely to occur with age.
It is better if the lenses are wide and with a rimmed frame – then the protection is more effective. But dark glasses are not always sunglasses, and you need to choose those that block ultraviolet rays. Moreover, the color of the lenses and the degree of darkening are not important at all: even very dark glasses can be completely useless in terms of protection from the sun.
By the way, photochromic glasses (which change color depending on the lighting) can also be used, but you need to remember that they do not provide immediate protection.
Buy glasses from specialized optical shops, and make sure that their lenses absorb UV up to 400 nm, which means that the glasses block at least 98% of UV rays. In the absence of such instructions on the label, the glasses most likely will not provide sufficient protection for the eyes.
Enjoy the sun but don’t forget to take precautions and always keep your health in mind. By protecting yourself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, you will avoid dangerous diseases, maintain a young and attractive appearance, and ultimately prolong longevity.