We all enjoy a bit of sun and have been taught that it is needed, in small doses to boost Vitamin D, which the body does not produce naturally. We now see many food supplements advertised as “including Vitamin D”, so it is not the end of the world if you do not get enough sun.
The big danger from staying out in the sun, as we all know, is sunburn! This comes from too much exposure to the sun. It is easy to overlook the dangers of spending even a little time out in the sun, without adequate protection and at some point; I am sure that we have all, at some time, overdone it, often without realising the dangers or the possible long-term consequences.
Let us have a closer look at sunburn. What exactly is it and what are the possible consequences? In a nutshell – it is damage to the skin. If you look at sunburn damaged skin under a microscope, you will see that blood vessels and cells have been damaged. In the short-term, these will repair themselves, but prolonged and repeated exposure will cause problems.
Over time, with repeated exposure and damage, skin will become dry, wrinkled, and discoloured, and take on a leathery look. Also, since the skin has been weakened, it will be susceptible to bruising and will bruise more easily.
That said, the most serious threat from the sun, is skin cancer, which is, in recent years, one of the most common cancers appearing. Doctors say that most skin cancers can be avoided by limiting sun caused damage to the skin.
We should all be mindful of the effects of the sun and exercise a degree of caution. There are a number of things that we can do by way of taking precautions. Let us examine a few:
- STAY OUT OF THE SUN. This is, of course, the obvious one! However, this is not entirely practical! We have to go out and, at some point we will be exposed to those harmful rays. If going out is unavoidable, do consider finding shade if needed.
- AVOID THE HEAT OF THE DAY. So, be sure to stay out of the sun between the hours of 12 – 15.00 when the sun’s rays are at their fiercest.
- WEAR HIGH FACTOR SUN CREAM. Factor 50 is the highest that you can get; do consider that in order to achieve the best protection. Be sure to apply it every day (perhaps make it part of your daily routine) and do re-apply it, particularly after swimming. Be thorough and do not miss any exposed parts of your body.
- WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. We are talking about hats (wide brimmed are best), and clothing that filters out the harmful rays. Surprisingly, they can get through light clothing, and we need to be aware of that and choose our attire carefully. Parasols are not a bad option and can give you a good deal of protection.
- USE SUNGLASSES THAT PROTECT AGAINST UV RAYS. Most good quality sunglasses do, but always check and never assume that you are covered. Look for polarized lenses with UVI protection – UV400 or greater.
Holidays are the time that many of us risk over exposure to the sun. This is an area worth exploring in a little more detail. What immediately comes to mind, is sun protective swimwear . As we descend on the beach in our bathing costumes, this is when we could find our selves most exposed.
It is easy to become complaisant. After all it’s a holiday and we won’t be there for long! However, we must not let our guard down.
When on the beach, many switched on people are now turning, not only to high factor sun screen, but taking a serious look at their swim ware and making sure that it is adequate. The leisure industry over the past decade has responded to need for greater protection when swimming or just enjoying time on the beach. You will now find that there are a huge variety of protective swim wear available.
You will find many companies supplying swimsuits and associated clothing that can block out 98% of the harmful rays. The designs consist of many different options. You can have a normal one piece swimsuit that covers the usual parts, or go the whole hog and have a full body suit that covers just about everything!
These items pander to the fashion conscious, for those who wish to cut a bit of a dash on the beach. So you will find them in a variety of colors, designs, shapes and sizes.
Always make sure that you buy certified UPF50+ clothing as this is the recommended level of protection.
Lots of food for thought! Caution and preparation are the key words. Enjoy the sun, but be careful.