Every doctor will agree that moderate exposure to the sun helps provide vitamin D to our bodies, increase the amount of calcium in our bones and teeth, improves the immune system and helps the mind to work properly. However, radiation from the sun can also be harmful, especially when there is too much exposure to the sun’s rays.
The number of skin cancer and melanoma cases is increasing every year. The easiest way to avoid it is by prevention in the form of using sunscreen.
Filters and Blockers
One of the most challenging decisions is which sunscreen to purchase. With so many brands on the market, it can get anyone confused. One thing is sunscreen, and another is a sunblock, but it is a personal choice.
According to dermatologists, there is a difference:
- Sunscreen absorbs the UV factor and the rays that reach the skin. The filters will depend on the absorption spectrum. Some protect the type UV-A factor while others protect you from the type UV-B factor.
- Sunblock avoids the penetration of UV rays into the skin.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established new regulations related to product packaging and information since 2013. Such information includes if they are water resistant and if they can protect you from getting skin cancer. Other information includes levels of skin protection factor (SPF), which refers to the level of protection against UV radiation.
Medical experts recommend using sunscreen or sunblock with an SPF 30 factor or higher. Example, if you buy an SPF 50 factor and you apply it onto your skin, the lotion will take 50 times longer to tan or burn versus a person without sun protector lotion.
People who have certain conditions such as lupus or melasma (brown or gray spots), should use sunscreen all the time. The same goes for people with fair skin who, every day, accumulate skin damage. They will never tan, but it doesn’t mean that eventually, they will burn their skin.
Take Care of your Skin
Now, which is the best brand? The best sunscreen or sunblock is the one you use and not the one left unopened in your beach bag. Apply the lotion all over your body and let it absorb for 15 minutes before you dress and leave the house. No matter where you are, reapply the sunscreen every two hours. There are also lip balms with SPF factor so that you can protect your lips from the sun. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and glasses will also help block UVA and UVB rays.
The best hours for taking sun are between 8:00 am and 10:00 am, or afternoons after 3:00 pm. The highest peak of sun rays occurs between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. Avoid exposing yourself during that period of the day.
A Bit of Science Information on UV Radiation
UV light is a type of radiation that we do not see. It can penetrate our skin and cause changes that could promote the development of cancer cells.
Excessive exposure to the sun can cause the skin to irritate, lose elasticity and, sometimes, dead skin cells which eventually peel off. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the leading risk factor for most skin cancers and photoaging. The primary source of ultraviolet radiation is sunlight. Lamps and tanning beds are also common sources of ultraviolet radiation.
There are several types of ultraviolet rays: type B (UV-B), type A (UV-A) and type C (UV-C). Type B causes cancer and photoaging faster than type A, although A is also carcinogenic. When you sunbathe on a cloudy day, ultraviolet light type B goes through the clouds and can burn the skin. Since the sun is not exposed, there is no heat and, therefore, you may stay outside longer exposing yourself to the UV rays.
Skin cancer – It is the most feared damage caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The most common are basal cell carcinoma, which, although is not a frequent cause of death, does cause scars since surgery is often needed to remove areas of the skin with cancer and this leaves marks.
Squamous cell carcinoma – It is a little more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma. It is caused by excess sunlight causing chronic skin lesions, especially in older adults, and people with fair to light skin.
Melanoma – Melanoma is the most dangerous possible consequence of UV ray exposure of all. You may not feel it at all and, if not diagnosed on time, it can even lead to death. The number of cases from this type of skin cancer has increased in the past two years.
Photoaging – It is the most common. It manifests itself with wrinkles, brown spots and precancerous lesions on the skin.
Eyes – Excessive exposure to solar radiation can cause adverse effects on eyes. Cataracts are one of many cases of cataracts associated with UV rays. Hence the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Many doctors, especially dermatologists, recommend that everyone should have a skin self-examination once a month to see if there is any change detected. If you notice a mole or a difference in the appearance of a mole you already had, even growth with a skin spot, you should visit a doctor immediately and perform the appropriate evaluation.
Remember always to apply sunscreen or sunblock 15 minutes before you get dressed to go out in the sun. Although all recommendations come in handy, always consult your physician before embarking on any treatment.
Our main concern at Platinum Pools is our customers. If you have any questions, contact us at 1.281.870.1600 (Houston), 1.409.898.4995 (Beaumont), or 1.361.575.0183 (Victoria). Our experts are ready to help.