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Precautions to take in the sun

by Marcie Cook Licensed Aesthetician 

Exactly what does the sun do to the skin? Well there are 2 forms of ultraviolet rays produced by the sun. Both of them can be harmful. The first of these is UVB, the UVB rays are the rays of the sun that actually cause the sunburn, redness, blistering and pain that we are all familiar with. But it is the second of these rays, or the UVA rays that can cause the most damage. It is a longer wavelength and is capable of penetrating deeper into the skin. Thus causing the damage that can lead to skin cancer and aging skin changes. The sun is at it's most dangerous between the hours of 11am and 3pm, if at all possible try to stay indoors during those hours. Prolonged sun exposure can have ill effects on the skin, it can cause premature aging, include wrinkles, brown spots, a leathery texture, melasma, and the development of skin cancers.

Using sun protection whenever exposed to the sun and even in the winter is absolutely necessary to prevent the skin from damaging. The next thing to consider is which type of sunscreen is right for you. The SPF (Sun Protector Factor), is based on how much extra exposure your skin can take before it begins to burn. Some key things to look for are a sunscreen with at least a SPF of 15, and UVA & UVB protection. Higher SPF's have been shown to be more beneficial to a point. If you have sensitive skin look for sunscreens that have "physical blockers" such as micron zed zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Acne prone skin should look for a sunscreen that says it is oil-free of noncomedogenic.

You should be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours while outdoors. Whether or not you realize it your sweating it off. Waterproof sunscreens help provide a continuous base of coverage, but you still need to reapply them after you get out of the water. Wear hats, & UV protective glasses whenever possible. Ladies might also want to consider making a sunscreen or moisturizes a part of your daily cosmetic routine. For the men, don't forget that when you go outside a thinning head of hair needs to be covered as well, wear a hat or buy a scalp sunscreen. Nothing is worse than a burnt scalp.

Sunstroke sometimes called heat stroke is a serious life-threatening condition. Being dehydrated and losing significant volumes of body fluids and electrolytes will eventually lead to heat stroke. Alcohol consumption will aggravate dehydration. Dehydration will lead to heat exhaustion. Some symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, nausea, fainting, & blurred vision. Heat stroke causes your organs to shut down from lack of these vital nutrients and can lead to delirium and even death so remember to stay well hydrated when out in the sun and use common sense, if you start to notice your skin getting a little pink, then by all means go inside. After all who wants to look like they're seventy in the 20's & 30's.

The bottom line is sun exposure is not good for your skin! So if you're planning a day on the beach or a day on the boat, don't forget the sunscreen. It will save your skin and possibly your life.

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