The weather is warming up and you know what that means – summertime is here!
That means sunny days, warm weather, sunscreen and lots of time spent outdoors – on the beach, in the pool, hiking in the mountains, biking, picnics and all manner of interesting stuff. On the downside, summer is also a season that brings with it varied skin problems, and thus the need to take those extra measures to protect yourself from heat and excessive tan (more detrimental than beneficial).
We all know the sun can be dangerous for our skin, and the midday hours (11 am to 1 pm) are particularly hazardous because this is when the sun emits the most UV rays.
Ultraviolet rays especially tend to peak in late spring and early summer. Of course, not that there are none in autumn and winter. But during the hotter months, we are exposed to more UVA rays (one of three types, the others being UVB and UVC) which have longer wavelengths that penetrate deep into the skin, causing damage.
Whatever happened to getting a daily dose of vitamin D from the sun, you may ask?
Well, if you must, keep it shorter than 15 minutes as prolonged exposure to the sun guarantees no extra vitamin D production. Furthermore, you can get the recommended requirement of 15mcg or 600 IU per day through normal daily outdoor activities adding up to between five and 30 minutes twice a week.
It is important to protect your skin not just for your appearance, but your health too.
Excessive sun exposure is bad for the skin cells because all the UV rays do is damage or kill the cells. Even that mild sunburn can damage the epidermis (top layer of the skin) which is not good for healthy living.
The skin is your body’s first layer of defense, and you should go out of your way to protect it.
Skin cancer is one of the most obvious risks of sun exposure. It would just be plain bad if you were to risk such a disease as melanoma (a form of skin cancer) by simply failing to take good care of your skin.
You see, when you are in contact with the sun, your skin is exposed to UVA and UVB rays which damage your skin cells. The skin self-repairs itself from this damage, but it can only manage so much. After several years of cumulative sun exposure resulting in such damage, skin cancer may set in.
To put this another way, this form of cancer is totally preventable.
Skin cancer may build up invisibly, but UVA rays can cause noticeable changes to your skin and overall appearance should you fail to shield your skin from their reach.
No one likes the appearance of sunspots, wrinkles, moles and other ghastly skin occurrences. And while wrinkles are inevitable at some point, it is good to remember that years of sun exposure only serve to add to these natural aging effects by as much as 85%. Eight-five percent!
The aim of this post is not to make you terrified of the sun more than you are of spiders. Rather, it is to point out the simple fact that everyday exposure to the sun counts, and that you don’t have to be actively sunbathing to suffer the ill effects of the sun, short-term or otherwise.
As it heats up this season, by all means, hit the outdoors and enjoy yourself. Just remember to take those age-old appropriate measures to limit your exposure to the sun – wear sunscreen, don a sun hat, don’t forget the sunglasses to protect your eyes, take shade breaks, stay hydrated and load up on antioxidants.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the UV index in the weather report.
Enjoy the sun!
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