Are sunscreens, effective in protecting your skin against the damaging rays of the sun?
Study after study by dermatologist has proven the most effective way to protect the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays on our skin is simply to stay out of the sun whenever possible.
Since staying out of the sun is not a practical choice for most of us or even one that we would like to make. The next best precaution is to use a sunscreen.
One thing to keep in mind is that a sunscreen, although each active in helping protect the skin does not give one a license to abuse the time spent in the sun.
Sunscreens come in two varieties, inorganic and organic.
The inorganic sunscreens basically work by scattering the UV light using a zinc or titanium oxides to achieve this. They form a reflective shield on the skin.
The organic version of sunscreens work quite differently, they actually absorb the UV rays, by way of complex organic molecules that they are made up of. These molecules are photo protective, which means they actually block the UV rays from penetrating the skin to a degree.
Most dermatologists recommended using a sunscreen of the SPF 30 or greater achieve maximum protection.
Another fact to keep in mind is while sunscreens have been proven effective for limited time in the sun to protect against acute UV skin damage and non-melanoma skin cancers. It’s not clear whether or not they do help protect against melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
As most sun worshipers already know, different times of the day represent different health risk for your skin as far as the degree of the intensity of the sun’s rays.
I came across a neat little rule for determining when the sun’s rays are the most dangerous for your skin it goes like this… “The shorter your shadows, the more dangerous, the rays of the sun are for your skin”.
The example of this would be, at noon when the sun is at its highest point you will have a very little shadow or no shadow at all. This would be the best time to stay out of direct sunlight, if at all possible.
Melanoma and non-melanoma malignancies are the most common of all cancers as a matter of fact, they account for about half of all cancers.
With what we now know about the damaging effects of the sun on our skin it is more important than ever to take proper precautions whenever exposure to the sun is unavoidable.
Sunscreens though effective are limited in their ability to keep your skin protected and healthy. Keep in mind that the use of sunscreen is merely a tool and is not meant as a free pass to spend unlimited hours baking in the sun without suffering the consequences.
One last point… The diminishing ozone layer of our atmosphere results in an increase of the harmful UV rays from the sun. What your grandparents may have gotten away with as far as safe time spent in the sun is not relevant to the conditions of today.
Be skin smart! You will look younger and have healthier skin for years to come.