The many times we set skincare dates, budgets and plans is directly proportional to the number of times we forget about sun protection. With the slowly vanishing ozone layer, we have become more vulnerable to the harsh sun rays that cause more harm than good. That is not our problem. Our problem is, despite the accelerating rate of the ozone layer depletion, we tend to forget to block the harmful ultraviolent rays from damaging our skin cells.
The skin is the first line of defense against infections and taking care of it reduces the risk of severe organ concerns. Skin care should not be all about looking good but healthy skin. Having healthy skin entails quick healing of wounds, burns and cuts. Additionally, the marks left behind do not look as bad as they would look on an unhealthy skin base.
Skin protection from the harsh sun rays is vastly underrated. With the terrible myth that black skin does not require sunscreen, many of us have been susceptible to premature aging and even worse skin cancer. Do not get me wrong. Regular exposure to sunlight is a good thing. However, overexposure to the harmful ultraviolent rays can cause skin destruction.
Studies estimate that the amount of sun exposure time required by the body to generate vitamin D is 10 to 15 minutes for light skinned people and 30 to three hours for dark skinned people. This means that very many hours of unprotected sun exposure causes more harm than good.
Ultraviolet rays get deep into the skin and destroy skin cells. The risk is not immediate but cumulative and increases the risk of getting skin cancer overtime. Sunscreen comes in to absorb or block the harmful skin-damaging rays. The adverse effects of UV rays include photocarcinogenesis and photoaging.
UV rays have been proven to cause basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Basal cell carcinoma refers to a type of skin cancer that forms on the basal cells (cells found in the lower part of the epidermis). This condition is characterized by the frequent replacement of old skin cells by new ones as the old ones die off. BCC is indicated by a white or brown waxy lump on the affected areas, mostly around the head and neck.
Squamous cell carcinoma is another type of skin cancer that affects the squamous cells (middle or outer part of the epidermis). The squamous type of cancer is a slow growing one and can grow without any adverse symptoms. SCC affects any area that has squamous cells.
Also, overexposure of the skin to UV light leads to premature aging of the skin, a condition known as photoaging. Photoaging includes appearing older than you really are, fine lines, wrinkles, possessing a dry or tough leathery looking skin, uneven pigmentation, and easy bruising of the skin. Introducing sunscreen to your skincare regimen as early as possible can prevent photoaging.
There are three categories of ultraviolet rays, the UVA, UVB and the UVC. UVA rays are longer rays that penetrate deeply into the skin causing aging. They are further characterized into two; UVA I which have wavelengths between 340nm and400nm and UVA II with wavelengths between 320nm and 340nm. UVA rays can penetrate through clouds and windows. That is why it is advisable to put on sunscreen on cloudy days and in the house since the sun rises everyday.
UVB rays are shorter rays with shorter wavelengths between 290nm and 320 nm. These rays are associated with skin burning. They have more energy compared to UVA. This type of UV rays can directly change the DNA of skin cells and therefore it is the one associated with most of the skin cancers.
UVC rays are the most powerful of the UV rays types. Fortunately, they do not reach the ground since they react with the ozone layer so they are not a risk factor for cancer. However, there are other man made forms of UVC rays such as welding torches and UV sanitizing bulbs used to kill bacteria and other micro-organisms in water, air, foods and surfaces.
Clearly, long hours of sun exposure is fatal because when we begin to talk cancer, it’s a matter of life and death. Escape the implications by planning to purchase a good sunscreen that can cater for your skin care need. It is not too late to start, begin now and save yourself years of premature aging and cancer.