Health effects of sun exposure
Our bodies were intended to optimise our exposure to the light. Sunlight aids in the maintenance of our sleeping habits, allowing us to stay awake throughout the day and sleep well at night. Getting too little sun, especially during the winter months, might make certain people vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder, a type of sadness. Sunlight also aids the production of vitamin D in our skin, which is required for good bone function and health. Sunlight, on the other hand, can be harmful.
The sun emits light rays that can both benefit and hurt us. UV (ultraviolet) rays are what these are called. UV rays are divided into three categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
The most common type of solar exposure is UVA radiation. UVB rays receive less solar exposure than UVA rays, but they are more intense. UVC rays are the most dangerous. Fortunately, UVC rays do not harm us. These rays are blocked by the earth’s ozone layer.
UV rays can pass through your skin even if you can’t see them. The epidermis is the skin’s outermost layer. The dermis is the innermost layer. The dermis houses your nerves and blood vessels. Melanin is a pigment (or colour) found in epidermis cells.
People with light skin have less melanin than dark-skinned people. This is why very fair-skinned people burn easier.
Melanin protects our skin and also creates vitamin D. When your body defends itself against UV rays, your skin tans or darkens. Too much sun exposure allows UV rays to reach your inner skin layers. You know this as sunburn. This can cause skin cells to die, damage, or develop cancer. Signs of sunburn include:
- Redness. Your skin will turn red due to an increase in blood flow. It can happen right away or over time. You might not know you are burnt until you go back inside.
- Hot skin. You also can get goosebumps or chills.
- Itchy or tight skin.
- Peeling. This is your body’s way of shedding the dead cells
Sunscreen is a must-have for everyone who wants to avoid getting sunburned
Keep cool, especially during the midday hours (10 am to 4 pm).
Protect your skin by wearing clothing.
Shade your face, head, ears, and neck with a hat with a wide brim.
Non-alcoholic fluids should be consumed in large quantities.
Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB radiation should be worn.
Apply sunscreen to your skin.
Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
On the label, look for the words “blocks UVA and UVB” or “wide spectrum.”
Apply sunscreen liberally (at least 1 ounce) at least 20 minutes before going outside in the sun.
Apply sunscreen to any skin that is exposed. Apply to your ears, scalp, lips, neck, tops of your feet, and backs of your hands.
Reapply every two hours and whenever you get out of the water or sweat profusely.
If you are also using insect repellent, apply sunscreen first and repellent second. Sunscreen may need to be reapplied more often.
Throw away sunscreens after 1–2 years.
Avoid indoor tanning. Getting a “base tan” before your vacation damages your skin and doesn’t protect you from sun exposure on your trip.
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