Summer fun has begun all over Australia. And as Aussies and other folks flock the beaches, the incidence of sun exposure-related skin damage has officially begun. It doesn’t have to be this way, however.
With all the knowledge and technologies we have today, it is now a lot easier to protect your skin against the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Here are 3 tips to help you make the most of the sun and sand season.
1. Use an Appropriate Sunscreen
One of the most effective ways to protect your skin from the sun’s rays is by using an appropriate sunscreen. These are products that come with ingredients that create a chemical barrier on the surface of the skin to help prevent UV rays from ever reaching the surface and penetrate into the deeper layers.
This is especially true for UV-A rays where they tend to penetrate deeper into the different layers of the skin. This type of UV radiation is what is closely associated with hyperpigmentation, wrinkling, sagging, and even leathering.
Ultraviolet-A radiation is also implicated in the exacerbation of the cancer-causing effects of another type of UV radiation, UV-B. This UV radiation is what gives you that reddish hue on the skin we all know as sunburn.
As such, it is important to choose a sunscreen that is able to protect the skin from both UV-A and UV-B radiation. These are called broad-spectrum sunscreens and should have a minimum Sun Protection Factor of 30.
The SPF rating of the sunscreen is an indirect measure of its ability to prevent UV-B radiation from turning the skin red.
For instance, if it usually takes 10 minutes of continuous exposure to UV-B radiation before your skin eventually starts turning red, using a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 means your skin is protected for about 5 hours. We say it’s theoretical since other factors may also reduce the effectiveness of the sunscreen.
These can include the presence of moisture on the skin or even getting into the water which effectively washes off some of the sunscreen applied onto the skin.
It is for this reason that generous amounts of the appropriate sunscreen should be applied onto your skin whether you go into the water or not.
If you are going into the water, it is best to reapply the sunscreen as soon as you get out from the water. This is to ensure you get the longest possible protection for your skin.
Ideally, you should reapply every hour if you will be swimming. If you’re not swimming, then applying once every two hours is recommended.
2. Stay Under the Shade
Even if you apply the correct sunscreen onto your skin, you still need to stay in shaded areas. This is to help increase the protective capabilities of the sunscreen.
It is also often a good idea to refrain from going under the sun during certain times of the day, usually between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. This is the perfect time to stay in the shade or indoors so you minimize damaging your skin.
Alternatively, you can also wear long sleeved clothing. You can even wear a wide-brimmed hat to help cover your face from the harsh rays of the sun.
Moreover, do get a pair of sunglasses that are especially designed to protect the eyes from the sun’s glare and reflected light. A large umbrella would be equally fine.
3. Stay Hydrated
It is important to drink plenty of water especially during the hot summer season. While it does not really protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation, water can, nevertheless, keep your skin from becoming dehydrated.
Skin dryness and dehydration can greatly increase the risk of skin damage which can be further exacerbated by prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.
Drinking plenty of fluids can help keep the integrity of the skin. This gives our skin a much better chance of staying intact against the harmful rays of the sun. It also helps deliver to the skin cells the substances and nutrients that they need for cellular repair, healing, and regeneration.
Protecting your skin from UV radiation during the sun and sand season is easy. Just follow these 3 very easy tips and you’re on your way to a fun and skin-safe summer.