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Protecting Your Skin From The Sun

Why should you protect your skin from the sun?  Here are the reasons why we should avoid basking in the sun too much.

The sun’s rays can be very harmful to our skin.   Although sunlight is actually beneficial in treating skin diseases, over exposure to the sun can cause sunburn, wrinkles, freckles, skin texture changes, dilated blood vessels, and skin cancers. It may also cause rash problems. 

Ultra violet radiation
The (UVR) in sunlight is very harmful.  Although UVR mainly affects our skin and eyes and does not get very far inside our bodies it can severely damage us.  The most serious effect of sunlight in our skin is the generation of cancer, the most serious of which is called melanoma.

Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer nowadays.  In the United Kingdom alone, there are at least 100,000 new cases of skin cancer annually. 

Most skin cancers are linked to sunburn or prolonged exposure to the sun. Skin cells are damaged by the electromagnetic radiation that makes up sunshine (this is different from the radiation associated with nuclear energy). The dangerous rays contain UV radiation. This comes in three types: UVA, UVB and UVC. UV radiation can penetrate deep into our cells and cause gene damage, the trigger for cancer.

In the United States, more than one million cases of non- melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed every year.  Meanwhile, melanoma skin cancer represents only four percent of all skin cancers, but accounts for more than 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths. 

People most at risk of skin cancer are those with large numbers of moles or fair or freckled skin, and particularly those with light colored eyes and fair or red hair. People with this skin type also tend to burn before they tan. People with dark skin that tans easily are less at risk. People with black, Asian and Mediterranean complexions are least at risk.

It is in this regard that health experts and medical practitioners alike are encouraging us to protect ourselves against the sun.  Here are four simple ways that we can do so:

How you can protect yourself

1. Stay away from the sun especially in the middle of the day (approximately from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) when the sun is at its hottest. 

2. Block.  Use sunscreen lotions or those with Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Using SPF 15 or higher is recommended. 

3. Cover up.  Hats, sunglasses, sun visors and protective clothing will provide effective barriers to sunlight. 

4. Speak out.  Help promote awareness regarding sun protection and the dangers of too much sunlight. 

So next time you are sunbathing and tanning, remember that no amount of beauty can compensate for your life.

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