The Importance of Sunscreen

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More people are learning about the health hazards associated with too much sun exposure. Over exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays can result in premature aging, skin cancer (particularly melanoma,) wrinkles, severe burns, age spots, and the proliferation of moles which can be an indicator of developing cancer in the future. Research has also shown that excessive exposure to UV radiation may impede the body’s immune system. Avoiding hazardous UV rays is essential to preventing skin damage. Protection from UV rays has made the use of sunscreen more important than ever.

Continuous exposure to sun rays will increase skin damage, whether or not one gets a sun burn. Applying sunscreen daily when you are outside will help reduce the chances of acquire serious skin damage. It will keep your skin smooth, soft, and retain its young appearance. Sunscreen will keep skin moisturized and prevent it from drying out and becoming chapped and rough. It should be used during all seasons, even the winter months.

Because of the various skin types, the rate at which the sun burns the skin will vary among people. To achieve the best sunscreen protection, it is important to understand how sunscreen works. The FDA labels sunscreens as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Sunscreens are labeled with SPF numbers. SPF is an abbreviation for Sun Protection Factor. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the relation of the time it takes to cause skin redness that is coated by sunscreen to the time redness is created without using sunscreen. There are two major types of UV sun damage.

Sunburn that is associated with the shorter ultraviolet wavelengths is known as ultraviolet B. Longer sun wavelengths, known as ultraviolet A, penetrate deeper skin tissue. The higher the SPF number, the more sunburn protection the wearer will receive. The usefulness of a sunscreen is greatly diminished if it is not applied in sufficient amounts, or if it comes off due to perspiration, washing, and other methods that cause it to be removed from the skin. For best sun protection, apply a generous amount of sunscreen and reapply when necessary.

Most experts recommend that for basic sun protection, one should use a sunscreen that has an SPF 15 or higher. It should also protect against both rays. All skin types will burn, however, people with lighter skin who burn easily should use a higher SPF sunscreen. One should also use a water resistant sunscreen when swimming.

It is no longer tanning in the backyard, at the beach, or swimming outdoors, where people should use sunscreen. It should be applied when spending any length of time outdoors. Parents should especially protect their children to avoid future diseases such as melanoma.

Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater to receive basic sun protection. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you may also want to use a chemical-free sunscreen.

Our skin is the organ that protects the rest of the body structures. It is important that we take care of it. Wearing sunscreen is an important way of maintaining good skin health.

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