Repelling the Sunshine Killer

A Protective Cover for Your Skin, with Sun Block

UV rays from the sun are extremely damaging. They accelerate aging in the skin and cause it to lose its natural whiteness. For this reason, dermatologists recommend daily usage of anti-UV ray skincare products, to prevent skin damage caused by UV rays. In other words, to maintain a healthy and radiant complexion, sun protection must be considered. UV Rays: The Sunshine Killer

UV rays are all around us. Even if you do not step out of your house, your skin will still be subjected to damage caused by UV rays from the sun. A dermatological report from USApointed out that the damage UV rays cause to the skin is accumulative. For sceptics, just look at the vast difference between the skin on your inner arm and outer arm. This is the evidence of solar-induced damage.

UV rays can be divided into three types, according to their wavelengths. There are UV-C (200-280nm), UV-B (280-320nm) and UV-A (320-400nm). The shorter the wavelength, the stronger the impact on the skin. Fortunately, the shortest UVC is already absorbed by the ozone layer before it can reach the earth surface. However, both UVB and UVA can reach to the ground level to inflict direct damage on the skin.

UVA can penetrate the dermis layer of the skin to damage the elastic fibre and collagen fibre, making skin lose its elasticity. At the same time, it darkens the epidermis layer, inflicting the greatest damage on skin. Unstoppable by umbrellas and indoor protection, its effects rage unbridled even on cloudy days.

UVB is the main culprit for those unsightly spots. It stimulates the epidermis, activates the self-protecting mechanism, accelerates melanin formation, darkens the skin and causes a surge of wrinkles.

The latest scientific research has proven that the skin cells will suffer irreparable damage when exposed with no protection to the sun, even if it is only for a day. Furthermore, 90% of skin problems are caused by UV rays.

All-Pervading UV Rays

To resist the damage caused by UV rays, it is vital to first develop a correct understanding. Many think that umbrellas and hats can easily replace sunblock products in preventing UV rays. This could not be further from the truth. Umbrellas, hats or long-sleeved shirts can only block the sunlight; they are unable to keep out UV rays. This is the case even at seaside and beaches.

To step up on sun protection, try to avoid exposure to the sun between 11amand 3pm, for this is when UV rays are the strongest and most damaging. However, sun protection should not be carried out only when there is intense sunlight, as UV rays are all-pervading, regardless of seasons, weather or location (indoors and outdoors). UVA can penetrate deep into the dermis layer even if UVB is blocked by the clouds. So do not be deceived and think that UV rays are absent during cloudy days, as this would lead to negligence in preventing the damage caused by UV rays.

SPFand PA

Among the various sunblock products that we have come across, SPF is a phrase that springs up often. This Sun Protection Factor actually refers to the time phase for the skin to resist UV rays. The higher the SPF, the longer the time frame for sun protection, thus the more suitable it is for long-duration outdoor use.

By and large, UVB causes damage and redness to the skin due to sun exposure and most SPF products are designed to resist UVB, so as to prevent skin damage under the sun. On the other hand, UVA is the culprit that causes tanning and spots and is controlled using products with PA indices, which are divided into three ranks based on their sun prevention effects. PA+indicates effective, PA++indicates very effective and PA+++indicates extremely effective.

Choosing the Right Sun Block

There is a wide range of sun block products in the market, presenting more choices than the consumers can handle. We recommend that you refer to the criteria below for choosing a good sun block.

1. Functions: Good sunblock products should possess sun protection, skincare and safety functions.

a) Sun Protection: Prevent tanning and damage due to sun exposure

b) Skincare: Anti-oxidant, free radicals scavenger, no irritation

c) Safety: Non-allergic, non-carcinogenic

2. Safety: Generally, these are the mechanisms used in sunblock products in the market:

a) UV Rays Absorbents: Sun protection by the application of chemicals, has irritation and safety

concerns. Hence most of the ingredients are strictly controlled. Be cautious when choosing such

sunblocks. If they contain Benzophenone-3 and Benzophenone-4, they are more dangerous.

Specifically, they should not contain Octyl Dimethyl PABAas research has verified that this substance

carries carcinogenic effects.

b) UV Rays Blockers: Sun protection by the application of physics, safe but not easy to produce, will

coagulate. The safest and most effective blockers are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.

3. Ingredients: Good sunblock products should contain anti-oxidants and free radical eliminators. If

they carry multiple nourishing ingredients, these would just go to waste. The addition of fruit acid into

sunblock products would offset the original effects and achieve results to the contrary. This is not

what an ideal sunblock should be.

Nur Syahid, a Natural Aromatherapist, specializes in Bio-Tech Aromatherapy including oxygen therapy, ozone therapy, health aromatherapy. Comments, Share and more info E-mail to : [email protected]

In The News:

Road to beauty  The News International
Perception of beauty  The Times of India Blog
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