When it comes to our health, most of us believe it is about just eating 3 times a day or just eating balanced diet. When I tell you about sun care and skin care, many men feel it is women’s tuff…oh how wrong you are. Skin cancer, sunburn, tanning, and all other kinds of skin damages are real. They do not affect a particular gender. So whenever you hear of sun care and sun protection, pay attention for your own good.
Avoiding the sun as much as possible when the sun is at its peak, which is usually between 10am in the morning and 4pm in the late afternoon is the best thing you can do for yourself. But I can tell you that during your daily activities, avoiding the sun completely is rather difficult and almost impossible to achieve. So, what are you going to do about that? What measures would you rather take to ensure your total protection from the harmful rays of the sun?
I can literally hear some of you say ‘hey, I am safe, I go to work around 7am and leave my office around 6pm, so I cannot be bothered’, are you really sure about that? Do you know that sun rays are out once day breaks? Do you also know that you are not safe from it even during cloudy weather conditions? Do you realize it penetrates your car windows even when you are cocooned comfortably inside it with your air conditioner on the highest setting? I advise you to follow these 6 steps for adequate protection all year round.
- WEAR SUNGLASSES
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I know most of you do not see the usefulness of wearing sunglasses except for aesthetics and walking around incognito. You are not alone. As a matter of fact, I was a defaulter for so long because I felt many wear it to look cool, disguise themselves, avoid eye contact while hiding their facial expressions and basically masking their emotions. I hated it, especially the very dark ones.
But here is the truth, our eyes are highly sensitive to sunlight and its rays, and these beauties protect them from UV radiation. Ensure you get the one labelled 99%-100% UV protection because not all dark sunglasses actually protect your eyes. Wraparound sunglasses are usually preferable as they prevent the sun rays from going in through the loose frames of the sunglasses. For those of you concerned about aesthetics, fret not, there are various beautifully made sunglasses out there to suit everyone’s taste in fashion.
2. WEAR A HAT OR SCARF
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I can hear many of you scream ‘really, a scarf? I thought hats are meant for beach visits?’, sorry to disappoint you but yes you really do need a hat, scarf or cap. You need to cover your face and protect it from the harmful rays of the sun, and what better way to do so than wearing a hat or scarf? And who said hats are only for leisurely beach visits? What happened to wearing them to weddings, parties, pairing them up with your clothing just for fashion statements? Baseball cap, tightly woven wide brim sun hats of at least 3 inches to shade your face, scalp, neck, shoulders and upper back, and beautiful silk scarves (it may not necessarily be a silk scarf), are all you need in this regard. Think about that sunburnt face you might have just because you neglected using the above and do the needful.
3.USE AN UMBRELLA
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Umbrellas are not meant to only protect you from the rain. You heard right, they serve more purposes than that. Whether taking long walks around your neighborhood, walking your dog, walking your kids back from school, siting at your friend’s pool side sipping a glass of cold lemonade, sitting on the beach and so on, you cannot ignore using your umbrella for sun protection. Now this is the one I am religious about. I cannot go anywhere without my portable foldable umbrella. As a matter of fact, I cannot be caught dead without one, especially if I am to walk or use a public transport to wherever I am going. It is a staple for me. When I lose one, and I have done that a couple of times, I immediately replace it. I found it helped me a lot in avoiding the scorching heat of the sun.
I understand you might have your reservations about using one, the forgetting it while on and about, carrying an extra weight making your handbag more cumbersome, the inconvenience of turning it on and off and so on, believe me when I say it is worth it that it is truly worth it.
4.STAY UNDER SHADES
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Whether you are at the park having fun with friends or family, spending time in the mountains, waiting for someone at a bus-stop, airport or a motor park, please seek a shade. Thank goodness we have beautiful shade trees that not only beautify our environment, but also offer protection from the harmful rays of the sun. You can stand or sit underneath a tree, there are street market stalls and vendors you can wait inside their shops, security posts, client service rooms and waiting areas at the parks and airports, so you do not have to bake yourself under the scorching heat of the sun.
5.WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Photo Credit: Skincancer.org
You are wondering what I mean by protective clothing right? Here is the thing, your clothes do not only help you make a fashion statement while looking fabulous on you, they also help in protecting your delicate skin from the sun by absorbing or blocking UV radiations. Maximum coverage is the key here. The more clothes you wear, the better your protection. Wearing long sleeved shirts, trousers, denims, long skirts and long dresses instead of spaghetti strapped short dresses, bum shorts, cropped tops and alter neck tops help in preventing UV radiations from messing with you big time.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) like SPF tells you how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin. For instance, a UPF 50 fabric blocks 98%percent of the radiation while allowing 2% to reach you. But this is not the only thing that helps your cloth protect you from the sun as not all clothing provides equal protection.
Photo Credit: Nawdeep Maurya Quora
Photo Credit: Nawdeep Maurya Quora
Color of your cloth is another thing to consider. As you can see from the pictorial, dark colored clothes absorb UV rays and keep them from reaching your skin while light colored clothes on the hand reflect white light. Dermatologists at the skin cancer foundation say that dark clothing offer better protection.
How the cloth is made also matter as a densely or tightly woken cloth like wool, canvas, denim, and synthetic fibers absorb UV rays instead of allowing them to reach your skin.100% unbleached cotton contains natural lignins that act as UV absorbers. Shiny polyester and/or nylon clothes and light weight fabrics like silks can also offer protection as they reflect radiation.
Loose fitting clothes are preferable to tight fitting clothes. This is because tight clothing may stretch, and as the fibers pull away from each other, they allow more UV light to pass through to reach your skin, thereby reducing its protection. Also wetness due to swimming or rainfall reduces the protection offered by your garment. Old frayed and faded clothes offer less protection too.
6. USE SUNSCREEN
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I know you have been waiting for me to mention this right? Using the right sunscreen for your skin type as part of your daily skin care regimen is the best you can do for a healthy skin. Remember the 6 golden rules of sunscreen I told you about, keep it and you will be just fine. Look for SPF 15, SPF 30 and SPF 50 sunscreens and face/body lotions that contain these. If you have a sensitive skin, then go for mineral sunscreens instead of the chemical sunscreens. Reapply after every 2 hours to the exposed parts of your skin and you are good to go always.
Now that we have gone through all the necessary steps you must take to help protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun all year round, I sincerely hope you sit up, take note of the things to change in your daily routine as per your daily sun care routine, and have a sun-safe life.