The summer season can be considered the most anticipated time of the year, as people usually plan to spend vacation days with their family or friends at places like the beach or mountains, or even go out for a walk. In any of these options, people expose themselves to the sun without realizing how much their skin can be affected. However, during long days at the beach, care should be even more preventive.
Sunny days and their consequences
The sun is a source of life, and one of its great contributions is that it helps in vitamin D synthesis and aids in the absorption of calcium that our bones need. Additionally, ultraviolet rays regulate the production of melatonin and can enhance a person’s mood.
There is no doubt that the sun offers warm days that can give the skin a more tropical color with its rays. However, ultraviolet radiation (UV) can be extremely harmful if a person abuses exposure to it.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overexposure to UV radiation has become “a significant public health problem.” They explain that as the depletion of the ozone layer becomes more noticeable and sunbathing habits increase, people worldwide end up developing complications in their bodies, with solar radiation being one of the main influencers of skin cancer.
There are simple ways to prevent possible diseases and skin damage that won’t prevent people from enjoying hot days at the beach or wherever they prefer. However, taking certain precautions, especially with children, is necessary to avoid the serious effects of solar radiation.
Avoid the sun at noon
Sunlight during the central hours of the day (from 12 noon to 4 p.m.) is much stronger, and avoiding exposure during this time is crucial to protect the skin. It is recommended to stay in the shade.
Use the right sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the barriers we can use to prevent the negative effects of the sun. Therefore, it is essential to choose a suitable product for each skin type, considering our phototype (the skin’s ability to assimilate solar radiation) and the intensity of UVA rays.
Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30, although SPF values higher than 50 provide only a slight increase in protection. It is necessary to keep in mind that regardless of the SPF, no sun cream completely blocks ultraviolet radiation.
The 11-spoon rule: Apply sunscreen correctly
For a sunscreen to be effective, it should be applied in sufficient quantities at least 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure. It is better to use a little more than not enough. Specialists have recommended that adults use at least 35 grams of cream for each application or follow the 11-spoon rule: one teaspoon for the entire face and head; another for the arms, forearms, and hands; two teaspoons for each thigh, leg, and foot; two teaspoons for the chest and abdomen; and two teaspoons for the entire back.
Accessories are important: Protect all parts of the body
The scalp, face, eyes, and lips are also highly susceptible areas that can suffer from the effects of the sun. In addition to wearing loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves, it is necessary to use facial sunscreen, a lip balm with sun protection, sunglasses, and a hat.
Dehydration throughout the body is common during and after sun exposure, so it is essential to consume abundant fluids, preferably water. Elevated temperatures can cause heat exhaustion and can lead to dizziness and skin dryness.
It is essential to keep in mind that skin damage is cumulative, and the effects of not protecting oneself can range from a simple redness to a severe illness or premature cellular aging. For this reason, it is necessary to take precautionary measures when going on vacation and when the time comes to soak up some sun.