Do you know why you should avoid UV rays? Just a refresher here, if you will. There are 3 kinds of UV rays:
UVA Rays These are the strongest, do the most damage the quickest. They are damaging to your skin, your eyes and can cause skin cancer. These are the ones we must protect ourself from. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, protective clothing should all play a part in this protection from the sun. Then we should all develop a great love for shade trees, umbrellas, any kind of shade to break the direct sun.
UVB Not To Be Forgotten
UVB Rays These are the medium rays in the overall sun’s ray makeup. They can do some of the same damage that the UVA rays can, it usually takes a little longer, but not always. Often happens when there is some cloud cover, or you are getting reflected sun. Did you spend the day in a boat under a shade, and still have signs of sunburn? This is the sun’s rays bouncing off the water, and reaching you in another way.
Winter sports lovers often have to be on guard of this kind of sun exposure. Sun reflecting off the snow is dangerous and causes damage. With UVB rays, your location in the world plays a part in the reason you can be caught of guard. Do you come from my part of the world, accustomed to direct sun many hours of the day? You think that because you are out under the indirect sun, you are safe? Not so.
UVC Ray This part of the suns ray is generally absorbed and deflected by the earth atmosphere, and not so much a worry most of the time. However, should the sun be particularly bright, you may be risking overexposure and skin damage.
With all 3 of these issues, you need to use sunscreen, and cover up the skin. Wearing sun blocking clothing is a great defence against allowing the sun to age you and cause you to be at risk for skin cancer.
A Healthy Tan
Next, let’s think about this “healthy tan” idea we have grown to accept as truth. In the medical world, there is no such thing. Before you argue that you have always heard that some tan is good for you, think about it.
When you are getting a little browner from sun exposure, it happens because the body is defending itself. Your body is trying to defend itself from damage from the sun. Do you tan/
The sun sends energy to the earth in several ways. There is the light that you can see. Also, there is the heat that you feel. Another way the sun sends us energy is through the UV rays that we can’t see or feel. Fortunately, the atmosphere helps deflect some of the UV ray strength as it shines through. However, with repeated exposure to this UV part of the sun’s system, there will be some damage.
A Little Or A Lot
Here is where most of us get confused. Yes, we need a bit of exposure to the sun for our bodies to make vitamin D, too much will start damaging your skin. Using common-sense is the main control factor. However, few of us seem to have much “common-sense” when we get out in the sun and are enjoying ourselves. Time passes too fast.
When I step out of the house and water the plants, I am very aware of a few minutes of exposure. However, sitting and visiting with friends and family at a sports event, we hardly realize the hours. Even on cloudy days, after adding freckles and deep lines to my face. I am old enough that this is not good.
When you see a “tan” line be aware that this is your skin’s self-defence mechanism. It is producing melanin to protect itself. Your body is trying to keep the sun from damaging your skin by producing the darker coloring in an attempt to coverup and protect the skin. It can’t keep up with excess exposure.
Get out of the direct sun. Avoid being out between 10 AM and 4 PM. Do some preventative work with taking care of your skin.
Help your self with making some positive changes for the sake of your skin. Be thinking through some changes, even as simple as making sunscreen a part of your everyday skincare. Keep sunglasses available and nearby. I think a pair on the front porch is a good addition. I often find myself out there, sipping a cup of coffee. Having a pair of handy would keep the sun damage from continuing. They don’t have to be an expensive pair, in a case on the window ledge would be a good investment for me.
What is an additional little thing you can do? Remember that most people in our society today have received damage from the sun. By the time they are 18 years old, they will be in the 50% positive group for developing skin cancer in their lifetime. Why We Need Sunscreen
Every once in a while, take a few moments and think about another little thing you can do to improve your odds. As far enough from 18 years old as I am, no more chances would be wise. I don’t want to add any more skin cancer to my life. After helping a loved one go through extensive reconstruction because of skin cancer of the nose. That is something I don’t want for myself.
What can you do for your family? Can you help everyone be aware of using sunscreen when they plan to be outside? Make sure everyone has sunglasses and a hat? How about taking along a shirt to the swimming pool?
Raise Your Awareness Level
There already have been many times when you spent hours in the sun when you had no sunscreen, had forgotten your sunglasses. There will be more, I know. Hopefully, your awareness level has been raised. Hopefully, you can help your family be more aware as well.
As your awareness grows, and you help your family to remember what they can do to protect their skin. They may not remember every time, but every time they do is a step in the right direction.
I found out in my research what was a strange fact about skin cancers. One of the results of a skin cancer research group was that taller people tend to have more skin cancer than shorter ones with most of the other defining data similar. This strange fact stuck with me as I am tall, and also have taller kids. So, does this explain our skin cancer history?
This will be interesting to watch as more information is gathered.
I hope you will start with some steps, large or small building your and your families defence against overexposure to the sun. Sun Blocking Clothing is a good start.