Sunlight does have some benefits, helping convert cholesterol in the skin into Vitamin D, which is essential for our bones and for the absorption of calcium. However, safety in the sun is crucial as UV ray can be harmful causing sunburn and with long term damage can lead to skin cancer.
There are a few things that you can do to prepare and protect yourself from the suns harmful rays.
A diet rich in beta-carotenes
Beta-carotenes, can help protect the skin from UV rays. Foods rich in beta-carotene include carrots, pumpkins, apricots, nectarines, spinach and broccoli.
Two German scientists have proven its effectiveness in protecting the skin against the sun.
Protect your skin during exposure to the sun
- What ever your skin type, it needs protecting. Apply lotion with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30. Apply it 20 - 30 minutes before going into the sun.
- SPF creams are essential as it reduces the penetration of the suns harmful rays into the skin where the DNA of skin cells are damaged.
- SPF creams should protect against Ultraviolet 'A' rays (UVA) as well as Ultraviolet 'B' (UVB) as both are harmful to the skin and are responsible for sunburn.
- If swimming, or coming into contact with water choose a water resistant sunscreen, which bears the words "water resistant" .
- Continue to protect yourself even when you are tanned.
- Sunscreens left over from previous years will not be as effective and have the same amount of protection.
- Follow the instructions on the sunscreen packaging and reapply as directed which in most cases is every 2 hours.
- Between 12 pm and 4 pm, the sun is at its strongest; therefore prolonged exposure to sunlight during these times should be avoided.
Fake tanning lotions and dietary supplements do not give any protection from the sun
Protective yourself with a hat and sunglasses
- Choose sunglasses that meet European standards.
- Wear a hat, T-shirt and sunglasses because the sun protection creams do not completely protect your skin from Ultraviolet Rays (UVR). In parts of Europe, the words "sun block" or "total protection" are prohibited on all products sold for protection against the sun as no product can claim total protection against the sun.
Do not use UV tanning salons (sun beds)
- There is no control over the delivered doses of UV that they give and pose many risks including skin cancer.
- Dermatologists do not advocate their use.
For more information
Evitar las quemaduras del sol