why do we have to wear sunscreen

Everyone needs sunscreen to protect their skin from damaging UV rays from the sun and sunburn. Using sunscreen products decreases the chances for sunburn and can prevent skin cancer or malignant melanoma. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2009, more than 1 million people were expected to be diagnosed with skin cancer and research studies link skin cancer with sun exposure on unprotected skin. The sunвs drying rays also prematurely age the skin and lead to wrinkles. Your skin responds to excessive sun exposure by turning red, becoming hot, and slightly painful to the touch. Severe sunburns cause skin blistering and peeling. The sunвs rays have two types of harmful UV rays--UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate your skin more deeply than UVB and are the cause of premature skin aging. UVB rays are the primary sunburning agent. You need to use a sunscreen because it protects your skin from UV damage and sunburn. Sunscreens are over-the-counter products that come in lotions, gels, ointments and sprays. The strength of the sunscreen protection is measured as SPF--or sun protection factor--which typically ranges from 15 to 45. The higher the SPF value, the greater the protection. However, this is not a true linear relationship--a SPF of 30 is not twice as effective as an SPF of 15. Everyone needs sunscreen when outdoors for more than 15 minutes between 10 a. m. and 3 p. m. or if they're in direct sunlight coming through a window (UVA rays pass through glass). You should wear UV protection on cloudy days, too. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. Cover all areas of the skin that will be exposed to the sunвs rays. Apply liberally. Most people, including children, need about 1 oz. of product to cover exposed areas sufficiently. Reapply every two hours.


If you are swimming, reapply more frequently. Children are at particular risk because they forget to reapply as often as needed when they are busy playing. Beach and lake vacations present special challenges for parents to monitor sunscreen coverage on children because water enhances the effect of radiation. According to a recent study discussed in Science Daily, 7-year-old children who vacationed at the beach had a 5 percent increase in skin moles--a major risk factor in malignant melanoma.
Most of us think of the Sun as our friend. It helps plants grow, keeps us warm, and who doesn't love to lie on the beach on a sunny day? But for all of it's good qualities, the Sun can also be harmful in large amounts. That's why we invented sunscreen. The purpose of sunscreen is to shield the body from the Sun's ultraviolet rays, which have several harmful effects, including sunburn, aging, and skin cancer promotion. These rays are separated by their different wave lengths, into types such as UVA and UVB, which exert a variety of effects in the skin due to the absorption patterns of chromophores, the parts of the molecules responsible for their color. The primary two chromophores are hemoglobin, found in our red blood cells, and melanin, which gives our skin its pigment. We know that UVB rays cause the skin to burn. The role of UVA rays is less well understood and appears to have an effect on our tanning response, carcinogenesis and aging. So, how does the sunscreen protect us from these rays? There are two basic types of sunscreen, physical and chemical blockers. Physical blockers, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, reflect the Sun's rays by acting as a physical barrier. If you've seen lifeguards with noses covered in white, then you know what this looks like.


The same ingredients are primary components of diaper creams, where the goal is also to create a physical barrier. Historically, they haven't always been easy to apply and were conspicuously visible on the skin, but new formulations have made this less of an issue. Chemical blockers, on the other hand, absorb the Sun's rays. They deteriorate more quickly than physical sunscreens because their ability to absorb the Sun diminishes. Generally, these are more transparent when rubbed on the skin, but some people develop allergic reactions to some of the chemicals. Regardless of the type of sunscreen, all are subjected to testing to determine their sunburn protection factor, or SPF. This is essentially a measure of the protection that the sunscreen will provide from UVB rays before one begins to burn. But even if you don't burn, you still need to use sunscreen because unless you live in a cave, you're not immune to the effects of the Sun. It is true that darker skinned people and those who tan easily have more built-in protection from sunburns, but they are still vulnerable to the effects of UVA. Children under the age of six months, on the other hand, should have almost no sun exposure as their protective mechanisms are not fully functioning, and their skin is more likely to absorb any sunscreen that is applied. Wearing sunscreen helps protect against the development of all three types of skin cance basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. On a daily basis, the DNA in your cells is developing mutations and errors that are generally handled by machinery within your cells, but ultraviolet rays from the Sun lead to mutations that the cell may not be able to overcome, leading to uncontrolled growth and eventual skin cancer. The scariest thing about this is that usually you can't even see it happening until its too late.


But if these concrete risks to your health are not enough to convince you to use sunscreen, there are aesthetic reasons as well. Along with cigarette smoking, sun damage is the leading cause of premature aging. Photoaging from chronic sun exposure leads to a loss of elasticity in the skin, in other words, making it look saggy. Take a look at this truck driver who's left side was chronically exposed to the sun and notice the difference. This is an important point. Car windows block UVB, the burn rays, but not UVA, the aging rays. It is recommended to use sunscreen daily, but you should pay special attention before prolonged sun exposure or when at the beach or among snow since the reflectivity of water and ice amplifies the Sun's rays. For these cases, apply about an ounce fifteen to thirty minutes before you go out and once again soon after you get outside. After that, you should reapply it every two to three hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Otherwise you should wear protective clothing with ultraviolet protection factor, or UPF. Stay in shaded areas, such as under trees or an umbrella, and avoid the sun at the peak hours of 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. ггпUPFпultraviolet protection factor) And what's the best kind of sunscreen? Everyone will have their preference, but look for the following thing broad spectra, SPF of at least 30, and water-resistant. A light moisturizer with SPF 30 should be good for daily use. Take note if you decide to use a spray. They take several coats to effectively cover your skin, like painting a wall with a spray can versus a paint brush. So, enjoy the sun, but enjoy it with sunscreen. ггггггпSPFпsun protection factorп

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