Overexposure to the sun and UV rays is rarely obvious at the time, and on many occasions, probably quite unintentional. However repeated exposure has rather more adverse long-term implications for our bodies and our health.
We’re all well aware of the more obvious and painful symptoms of sunburn including hot, red, tender skin – which in the case of a more heavy burn can also include blistering, peeling and dehydration.
The damage that occurs beneath the skin as a result of sunburn is considerably ‘less obvious’ at the time of exposure, and may in fact take years to produce symptoms visible to the naked eye.
The fact that damage caused to skin cells during sunburn can not only accelerate the aging process, but also increase the risk of cataracts and skin cancer, should certainly demand our attention.
When faced with the potential risk of having to treat more than just the temporary symptoms and pain of sunburn, doesn’t it make more sense to avoid the risk in the first place?
Seek prevention rather than cure!
So before you venture out into the sun again, remember these important tips to protect yourself from overexposure of UV rays and sunburn, and its associated risks:
1. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeve shirt and a hat. Consider the ‘additional’ protection of an umbrella or shade where appropriate.
2. Avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm if at all possible.
3. Remember that UV rays are present even on cloudy days.
4. Remember that sunlight is strongly reflected from sand, snow, ice, water and concrete, which can intensify your direct sunlight exposure.
5. Apply sunscreen containing a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, at least 15 minutes before going out into the sun.
6. Reapply sunscreen at regular intervals while out in the sun, especially if you are perspiring heavily or swimming.
7. Remember that UV overexposure is not limited to ‘sun exposure’. Sunburn can also occur as a result of UV exposure from other sources including tanning beds/lamps, welding arcs etc.
Prevention is a far better treatment than cure. In the event however, that you discover any unusual moles or growths on your skin – (particularly if they’re irregular in shape, bleed, itch, or appear to be changing) – consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
When it comes to overexposure of UV rays and sunburn that result in skin cancer, early detection will certainly assist in providing you with more effective treatment. But considering your options beforehand – what will provide the best outcome for your health? Prevention or Cure? I know which one I’d choose… !