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Gearing Up With the Right Sun Protection

According to the Skin Health Institute, skin cancer caused by lack of sun protection is a major issue faced by Australians:

  • At least 2 out of 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
  • Over 400,00 Australians suffer from skin cancer each year.
  • About 95% to 99% of skin cancer in Australia is caused by sun exposure.

Let’s take a look at how you can take care of your skin during the summer, ranging from clothes you should wear to choosing the best sunscreen.

What Are Australians Doing To Protect Their Skin From the Sun?

Australians engage in a wide variety of different behaviours to protect their skin from the sun. According to Cancer Council Australia, 38% of Australians double up with a hat and sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30. Many adolescents wear a longer leg cover with sunglasses. The most common sun protection behaviors among Australians include wearing sunglasses (about 61%) or using sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher (about 42%). More Australians tend to do one thing that protects against the sun.

What Should You Wear If You Are Out In the Sun?

Sun protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses are highly recommended if you are outdoors during the summer, but certain colors and fabrics can further mitigate sun damage to your skin. These include:

  • Dense fabric: Denser fabric doesn’t necessarily mean thick, heavy clothes. The tighter the holes and weaves in the fabric, the fewer UV rays can penetrate the clothing.
  • Fewer white clothes: Fabrics with dark and bright colors absorb UV light more than whites and pastels. Bright colors such as red can also provide protection from UV rays. A brighter shade of color will provide more protection from UV rays than a pale one.
  • Synthetic Material: Polyester and nylon tend to be more absorbent and protective than materials like cotton.
  • Fabrics That Stretch: Looser fitting clothes tend to provide more protection than clothes that fit tightly.

Selecting the Right Sunscreen

Sunscreen comes in a wide variety of different formats. Available sunscreen applications include gels, creams, sprays, and oils. When choosing a sunscreen, you want to select at least a minimum of SPF 30. A broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays is better. If your outdoor activity involves swimming or water, consider using a water resistant that you can reapply after you are wet.

It is important to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays will cause your skin to age while UVB can cause sunburn. A higher SPF rating is important because it indicates the degree of sun protection that the sunscreen offers. SPF 30 will filter roughly 95% of UVB rays while SPF 50 will protect you against about 98% percent of UVB rays.

Water resistant sunscreen will provide some protection after you have been in the water. However, it is important to reapply it after you are done swimming and throughout your time outdoors because using a towel will rub some of it off. Water will also degrade the protective ability of the sunscreen over time.

How Much Time Can You Spend Outside in the Sun

Generally speaking, the time you can spend in the sun depends upon your skin type. A recent study can recommend some safe times you can spend in the sun based upon your skin type. Some general guidelines include:

  • If you have lighter skin, lighter colored hair, and get freckles often, you can generally spend about 10 minutes in the sun before you are at risk of getting sunburn.
  • If you have light skin with brown or blonde hair, you can generally spend about 20 minutes outside before you are at risk of sunburn.
  • If you have light to light-dark skin without freckles, you will likely get sunburn within 30 minutes.
  • People who have light-olive to dark brown skin can stay outside for 40 to 50 minutes before you are at risk of sun damage.

What Are Some of the Long-Term Risks From Sun Damage To Your Skin?

In addition to skin cancer, there are other long-term risks associated with exposure to the sun. These can include:

  • Changes to your skin: Some skin cells will form a clump with melanin. This is what causes freckles and moles. Over time, these can evolve into skin cancer.
  • Aging: Exposure to the sun can cause your skin to age more quickly, which can result in wrinkles, tight skin, and dark spots.
  • Immune system: When you get sunburn, white blood cells play a role in helping the skin heal. Sunburn can make your immune system weaker.
  • Vision problems: Sunlight can also damage your eyes and result in poor vision. Sun damage to your eyes can also cause cataracts.

Can Skin Damage From the Sun Be Reversed?

Some of the effects of sun damage can be treated. UV rays can ultimately damage your tissue and this damage is irreversible. Dermal fillers can help with dry, rough looking skin. Anti-wrinkle treatments are also an option.

If you have sun damage, you might want to consider an initial consultation with Skin Essentials. Our consultation will help determine the right type of skin treatment to help you with your overall appearance. At the end of the day, wearing sunscreen, hats, and the right clothes will help protect your skin from sun damage. We also offer a line of sun protection and skin care products from Aspect Dr that can help. All of our sun protection products are SPF 50 and contain no harmful ingredients.

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