If you thought protecting from the sun was only about getting some sunscreen every now and then let us tell you that we can make much more than that for our skin. In this post we are going to describe how we can photoprotect our skin from the harms of the sun.
Sun exposure and changes in our skin
The two types of sunlight that can cause skin damage are ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA rays affect the deep layers of the skin. UVB rays damage the outer layers of the skin and cause sunburn.
The best way to reduce the risk of cutaneous damage is to protect your skin from the sun. This includes using sunscreens and other protective measures. The three main measures you can take are the following.
- Avoid exposure to the sun, particularly during the most intense hours of sunlight that are usually from 10.00h am to 4.00h pm, when UV rays are strongest.
- Avoid areas and/or zones that reflect light, such as water, sand, snow, and areas painted white.
- Remember that the higher the altitude, the faster your skin burns from sun exposure and the more attention you will need to pay to protective measures. The main reason is that the atmosphere is thinner and less dense compared to sea level and at high altitude more UV rays reach the earth’s surface.
The best clothes for protecting our skin
The best practices when choosing the best clothes to protect us from the sun are the following.
- Long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Look for loose, unbleached, tightly woven fabrics. The denser the fabric, the more protection the garment will provide. You can combine a dense fabric without compromising transpiration.
- A wide-brimmed hat that can shade the entire face from the sun. A baseball cap or visor does not protect the ears or sides of the face, so it is not really useful for protecting from the sun.
- Sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
The best sunscreens
Applying sunscreen should not be a reason to spend more time in the sun. Only apply sunscreen if you have no choice but to be in the sun. In addition, the best sunscreens are those that meet the following characteristics.
- Use sunscreens that filter out both UVA and UVB rays. These products are labelled as broad-spectrum sunscreens.
- Use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) label of 30 or more.
- Use those sunscreens that are water resistant, even if you will not be doing water activities.
- Apply your sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside for best results. This gives the sunscreen time to be absorbed by the skin.
- Remember that sun is up every day, so use sunscreen in the winter too if needed (as we said, if you go next to water or snow).
- Follow the instructions of the manufacturer to know how often you should reapply it. Normally a reapply should be done at least every two hours.
- Use a lip balm with sunscreen for protecting the lips