Why you need to wear your sunscreen NOW? Because the sun can be harmful to your health! If it is not for vanity’s sake, it’s for health’s sake. Wearing sunscreen is crucial in maintaining your skin’s health. Sun protection is one of the most important things that you can do for your health, and yet something so simple can often be overlooked or disregarded by many. You may be asking, what exactly is so important about sun protection? To understand the importance of sun protection, we will first have to explore what exactly we are protecting ourselves from.
Why is Sun Protection So Important?
The sun has plenty to offer. It gives us warmth from its infrared light, it allows us to actually see things because of its visible light, and it helps with the Vitamin D synthesis that our body naturally makes. So why is it important to wear sunscreen? Because scientifically, ultraviolet light (UV) has been proven to be a human carcinogen. To put it simply, UV rays contributes to the risk of developing skin cancer. Overtime, exposure to UV rays causes sun damage, and sun damage can take an aesthetic and medical toll on the skin.
What Exactly Does UV Rays Do?
There are mainly two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB.
1. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and causes ageing. It breaks down the skin’s collagen and tissue, causing the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and certain types of skin cancers.
2. UVB hits your skin most superficially level and contributes to burning. With UVB, because of the burning, can cause issues like skin cancer or pre-cancers.
UV rays are notorious for causing pre-mature ageing as well as worsening of existing skin conditions. From pigmentation, to laxity, to acne. You name it, the sun worsens it. If you are wondering why your acne or rosacea to flare up after sun exposure, now you know!
If you are not applying sun protection for vanity’s sake, at least do it for your health’s sake!
“It can’t be that bad, right…?” It Most Definitely CAN.
An article published in 2012 by the New England Journal of Medicine speaks about the importance of sun protection. Bill McElligott, a 69 year old truck driver is a man with “two faces”. McElligott drove an unairconditioned milk delivery truck between stores and gas stations for 28 years. It wasn’t until his grandchildren started asking why part of his face was creased and filled with bumps and broken veins did he visit a dermatologist. Dr. Jennifer R.S. Gordon, who had treated McElligott, discovered that he had a dramatic case of unilateral dermatoheliosis. What that basically means is that one side of his face was ravaged by the sun, while the other side was not. As for McElligott, he now uses sunscreen whenever he goes out!
What is an SPF and How Does it Protect Us From the Sun?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. And what that means is the amount of time your skin will need to burn when using that sunscreen. So for example if it takes 10 minutes for me to burn in the sun without sunscreen, if I use an SPF of 15, it is going to take me (15 [SPF] x 10 [minutes]) 150 minutes to reach that same level and burn. So you might think, “Great, SPF 15 is all I need!” False! SPF 15 only protects you from about 94% of UVB rays, whereas SPF 30 goes up to 97%, and SPF 50 goes up to 98% protection. So even though it might seem like a small jump, it’s actually protecting you a whole lot more. Human error is also a factor where it comes to sun protection. Many people don’t actually use the recommended amount of sun protection (1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon) in order for it to give its stated protection. So as a rule of thumb, get a sunblock that has an SPF of 30 to 50 is your safest bet.
The sun is wonderful, let’s not discredit the amazing things the sun has given to us. But we can enjoy all the goodness from the sun while being protected from its harmful UV rays. Lucky for you, it is never too late to start practising sun-safe habits. By wearing sun protection religiously, you can help to protect yourself from the harmful effects of UV. It is especially important to wear sunscreen during the most intense UV hours (usually between 10am to 4pm). If you need some product recommendations for sun protection, we’ve got you covered! If you need some treatments to treat sun damaged skin, come down for a consultation with our therapists or doctors today. They are more than happy to help you in your journey to achieving that glow that matters!