In 2010 the risks associated with over exposure to the sun and the use of sun beds are as well known as the benefits of moisturiser, yet in a similar way to this skin care staple some guys are still choosing to ignore the facts. As a society it seems that even though we are fully aware of the risks, even with the spotlight of media attention and expert opinion, the subject of protecting our skin can still get swept under the carpet.
For this reason, I’ve decided to focus this week’s grooming article on the risks of overexposure, explaining some of the key terms you read and hear everyday, and some tips on how to protect yourself against sun damage. There aren’t as many specific product recommendations, and my style will be more informative, but I think it’s important to give you guys the information you need. Think of it as your fashionbeans grooming homework before you head out into the sun this summer, and be sure to spread the word, because the more guys that do take notice of the risks the better. Together we can break down the confusion and misconceptions associated with sun care.
Always remember guys – your tan will fade, but the damage to your skin remains.
It may all seem trivial, but sunburn is the result of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sun beds damaging the genetic material in your skin cells. So while an after sun lotion may soothe the pain, you could be doing long term damage to your skin if you don’t protect.
One of the most common cancers in the UK is skin cancer and the number of people who develop it is on the rise. With UV rays from the sun the main environmental cause of most skin cancers, it is paramount that we do all we can to protect ourselves from these risks.
Ageing of the skin
Yes, your skin ages over time, but nothing accelerates that ageing process more than exposure to UV rays. With repeated exposure to the sun, the skin loses the ability to repair itself, and the damage accumulates. The result? Deeper wrinkles, dehydration, skin pigmentation, sagging and a loss of elasticity.
Damage to your eyes
If absorbed by your eyes, UV rays from the sun and sun beds can cause or enhance several eye conditions, including cataracts, because the UV light causes a reaction in our eye tissue. Once this damage occurs, it cannot be reversed.
Overuse of sun beds
Sun beds emit UV radiation, UV radiation damages the skin, so before you choose to use a sun bed think carefully about the risks. All of the risks explained above apply, so my advice would be to choose the safer – self-tanning – option.
Key Terms Explained
No doubt you will have heard some, if not all of these terms before, but have you ever stopped to think what they actually mean and how they effect you and your skin? When choosing your sun care products, it’s key that we understand terms ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘SPF’, to make the right product choices.
- Broad spectrum protection: A term for a product that effectively protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Photo-ageing: Ageing of the skin as a result of chronic sun exposure including deep wrinkles, skin dryness, sagging, pigmentation and a loss of elasticity.
- Photosensitivity: A skin condition which is particularly sensitive to sun exposure.
- SPF (Sun Protection Factor): The term widely used to define how effective a sun protection product is at filtering out the harmful UV rays. The higher the figure, the better the protection you’ll receive.
- Ultra-violet radiation (UV): UV rays are electromagnetic radiation that can cause damage to the skin. Both the sun and sun beds emit UV rays that penetrate deeply into our cells and can cause gene damage, the damage than can in tern trigger the development of cancer. UV radiation can be divided into three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
- UVA rays: UVA rays play a major role in tanning of the skin, but they also contribute to premature aging and skin cancer.
- UVB rays: UVB rays are the ones that primarily cause sunburn, which then in turn damages your skin’s genetic make up.
- UVC rays: The third type of ultraviolet radiation, UVC is actually the most dangerous form of UV light, but it is blocked by the ozone layer and hence does not reach the Earth’s surface.
Sun Safe Tips
Avoid sun beds at all costs.
If you know the right products to use (self tanning article to follow soon!) you can achieve a tan that’s just as good, but without any of the risks. If you want to steer clear of any of the risks above, steer clear on sun beds, end of.
Take extra care to protect sensitive areas.
Areas of particularly sensitive skin that aren’t normally exposed need all the extra care and protection you can give them. Think ears, lips, the top of your feet, your neck, hair line and your scalp – these areas should be top of the list.
Choose SPF15 or higher.
When choosing your sun protection products make sure it is SPF 15 or higher. Anything less than SPF15 will not provide enough protection. Filtering out over 90% of damaging UV rays it’s not full proof, but it’s the least you need to be doing.
Always use “broad spectrum” sunscreen.
Broad spectrum sun protection protects your skin against UVA and UVB rays, giving you comprehensive cover against the unquestionable risks.
Re-apply, re-apply, re-apply.
Throughout a day in the sun, it is necessary to re-apply sunscreen at least every two hours, and more often if you’re swimming, or sweating. If you don’t, your skin isn’t receiving as much protection as it needs.
All year round.
It’s a common misconception that you only need to protect your skin against sun damage between the months of May and September, and only when you’re at the beach or in the park. Sun protection is just as vital during winter, and in an urban lifestyle as it is at any other time. To ensure you’re adequately protected, it’s necessary to use one of the many daily moisturisers that feature SPF protection,
Don’t stay indoors.
Although too much sun is harmful to your skin, it is important that to get some sunlight as our skin uses to produce vitamin D, which helps to build and maintain strong bones.
Products On The Market
SPF Skin Care