Understanding Sun Damage
- Tips for Sun Protection
Avoid going out in the sun from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm i.e. when the sunrays are most powerful and destructive. Use shadow rule, i.e. when your shadow is shorter than you are, sun is at its maximum intensity. But if you can’t avoid, go out with the proper protection. Below listed are some precautions you must take to prevent your skin from burns:
Proper apparel >
Be completely old fashioned when out in the sun!!! Wear wide brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts and pants. Cover yourself as much as possible. Cotton and linen are best fabrics for hot weather. Wear loose, light coloured, light weight, heat reflecting clothing. Hold a fabric to a light bulb to assess its heat reflecting potential. If light can be seen through it, sunrays can get in too. Try using umbrella for shade.
A very important and significant step in sun protection is the application of sunscreens. Choose a sunscreen with alteast SPF 15 or more (SPF – sun protection formula), higher the SPF, better the protection. SPF 15 blocks almost 93% of the sun rays; SPF 20 blocks almost 97%. Facial skin is very sensitive, use highest possible SPF to protect your facial skin.
If you have an acne problem, use oil free sunscreen. If you find any irritation or rash appearing on the skin after application of sunscreen, use fragrance free formula. Apply sunscreen 20 mins before going out in the sun. Apply properly on all the exposed parts. Do not forget to apply on nose, lips, ears, neck, hands and feet. Reapply sunscreen when you are outdoor, every 2 hours, even when the label says sweat proof, waterproof. Prompt application is needed after swimming and sweating.
Choose non toxic natural sunscreen >
Studies show that clothing and zinc oxide are only two stuffs that block both UVA and UVB. Titanium oxide is also good, and is being incorporated in sunscreens increasingly.
Never use sunscreens after expiry date Try to use sunscreen year round, not only in summers Apply sunscreen to children above the age of 6 months every time they go out.
Use UV blocking sunglasses even when you have applied sunscreens. When purchasing sunglasses look for the label that offers 99-100% UV block. Make sure they are labelled as sun glasses. Be wary of the dark tinted glasses sold as fashion accessory that offers minimum or no protection. Use glasses that do not distort the rays. Wrap up the temple to protect any light entering from sides of the glasses.
Bonus Tips >
Take 1000 mg of vitamin C as they suppress the free radicals causing cancer. They improve overall look of the skin too!!! Don’t eat carrots, lime before going to beach. They contain ‘psoralens’ which increase the sensitivity of skin to sun Do self skin check regularly to be familiar with the spots and growths on the skin. Notice any new growth or change in the previous existing entity. Prevent from snow and water. Reflection from snow or water increases exposure to sun’s rays. Be extra careful if you have a fair skin. Because fair skinned people cannot generate adequate melanin that is a natural protection mechanism to our skin against sun rays. Drink plenty of water and keep yourself well hydrated.
What to do after a sun burn ?
Since the burn takes 6-48 hrs to develop, its often late when we realize its skin burn. Although entirely reversing sun burn is not possible without a medical treatment, here are the tips to minimize the damage:
Keep the affected person in shade Give a cool (not cold) bath and gently apply cool wet compresses to reduce burning sensation. Apply a thin coat of aloevera gel, yoghurt, kefir orsour cream to reduce the inflammation. Give pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Apply topical moisturizing creams to rehydrate skin. However do not use petroleum based products as they prevent heat escape Call doctor if the blister or any other severe symptoms develop. Don’t try to squeeze or scratch the blisters.