Since I was diagnosed with Skin Cancer I now take extra care all year round. I apply a factor 50 cream 365 days of the year. Sounds extreme, but the winter sun is just as powerful as the summer sun. There are two different types of rays that the sun gives off and before I was diagnosed I didn’t have a clue about them. Now I have a better understanding and it really is simple and easy to understand.
UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and wrinkling (photoaging), and suppression of the immune system. UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer.
Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our lifetime. UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass.
UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.
UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photoaging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice.
This is where the all important keeping you skin protected and using sun lotion comes in. No sunscreen will give the protection it claims unless you apply it properly. People often apply much less than they need to. When your risk of burning is high, ensure that all exposed skin is thoroughly covered in sunscreen. As a guide for an adult this means: Around 2 teaspoonfuls of sunscreen if you’re just covering your head, arms and neck. Around 2 and a half tablespoonfuls if you’re covering your entire body, for example while wearing a swimming costume. Reapply sunscreen regularly including ‘once a day’ and ‘water resistant’ product. Some products are designed to stay on better than others, but beware of sunscreen rubbing, sweating or washing off. It’s especially important to reapply after towelling dry. And reapplying helps avoid missing bits of skin.
Use sunscreen together with shade and clothing to avoid getting caught out by sunburn. Along with shade, another way to protect your skin from the sun is with clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and good quality sunglasses. Hats are great for protecting the whole face and head. Choose a wide-brimmed hat for the most protection.
Its always nice to spend time out in the sun, but you must remember that its so very important to keep your self covered up and protected.