Tanning during summertime to acquire a radiant look is a practice that prevails across the world, especially among the fair-skinned people who want to tone down the whiteness. But sun exposure comes with its risks, the most alarming being the risk of skin cancer from the sun’s UV rays. It manifests in the form of sunburn, which is the visible sign of skin damage that shows up by the redness of skin followed by peeling after a few days. Suntan increases the skin pigment, melanin, which changes in a tan color and a sign of skin damage. When the skin gets exposed to UV radiation of sunlight, the production of melanin goes up to protect the skin from further damage and darkens the skin within 48 hours, explains the skincare experts at Viviane Woodard.
Skin experts and dermatologists recommend the use of sunscreen lotion every day, even on cloudy days. Apply one ounce of sunscreen about 15-30 minutes before leaving home and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. The sunscreen’s effectiveness depends on its SPF or Sun Protection Factor, which is a measure of the extent of protection from the UV rays that you can expect.
More about SPF
Sunscreens contain a varied amount of SPF that usually ranges from 2 to 50 and an indication about how long it will take for your skin to get burned as compared to normal skin without using sunscreen. For example, if it takes 10 minutes for your skin to burn without any protection, applying sunscreen with SPF30 would mean that it will take 30 times more time for the skin to burn. It means that applying sunscreen with SPF 30 will allow you 5 hours before the skin gets burned.
Sunscreens do not offer long time protection because it can quickly wear off due to contact with clothing and water exposure. Therefore, for all-round protection for a longer time when going out in the sun, you must reapply every 2-4 hours and more frequently if you are swimming or exercising.
UVA and UVB explained
UVA is long-wave ultraviolet rays that penetrate the thickest layer of skin, but UVB is short wave ultraviolet rays burns the surface layer of skin. UVA facilitates tanning but also makes the signs of aging visible in the form of brown spots and wrinkles. UVB rays are more harmful and do more serious damage because they cause sunburn, tanning, and premature aging. The biggest danger is that UVB can trigger skin cancer.
Although sunscreen protects the skin from the harms caused by sunlight, it might appear that one must use it only when going out on a sunny day but the truth is SPF in sunscreen takes care of the skin and prevents long-term damage and using sunscreen should be a part of your daily routine.
Because UV rays can penetrate through clouds, clothing, and windows, it is always good to use it every day.