Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage?

Sun damage can occur when you lay out in the sun to get a sun tan or anytime you over-expose your skin to the sun. A small amount of sunlight is needed for vitamin D production, but too much sun leads to various problems, including skin discoloration, premature wrinkles, age spots and life-threatening conditions like skin cancer. Practicing good skin care habits may help protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
The sun emits ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B rays (UVB). When UVA rays penetrate your skin, they cause early aging, with visible signs like wrinkles and sagging skin. This is because they damage a skin protein called collagen. This protein keeps your skin smooth and firm. When UVB rays reach your skin, they cause sunburns. According, recurrent sunburns can put you at risk for skin cancer.
Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells in your skin. They are responsible for giving your skin its color. The pigment produced by melanocytes is called melanin. When your skin is over-exposed to the sun, the melanocytes begin to produce excessive melanin to protect your skin from the harmful rays, resulting in skin discoloration in the form of age spots and/or freckles.
Protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun by avoiding sunlight as much as you can. The sunlight is at its most intense between the hours of 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Avoid going out at this time, if you can. If you need to go outside, put on sunscreen lotion. Apply the lotion at least 30 minutes before you head outside because sunscreen needs time to be absorbed into your skin in order to provide adequate protection. Purchase sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection, and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
Protective Clothing
You can also prevent your skin from sun damage by putting on clothing that protects your skin. Select clothing such as pants and shirts that cover a lot of skin and clothing that is made of a tight weave, as they provide better protection from the sun. Put on a wide-brimmed hat to avoid getting sun on your face. Protect your eyes from the sun with sunglasses that offer protection from the sun's UV rays.
The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that changes in moles or spots on the skin may be indicative of skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to monitor changes that occur in any moles or patches of discolored skin you may have. Inspect changes in color, size, symmetry and border of these moles and other skin discolorations. If you notice any changes, contact your dermatologist immediately. Skin cancer has a high cure rate if detected early.

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