Safe levels of sun exposure help our skin to produce to produce vitamin D, which can reduce the risk of developing a number of cancers, but too much sun is harmful and can lead to developing skin cancer.
V Radiation & the UV Index
The sun gives out three types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC rays canÂ’t get through the ozone layer but UVA and UVB rays can. UVA can cause wrinkles and UVB can cause sunburn and skin cancer.The UV index, shown on weather maps & forecasts, describes the strength of the sunÂ’s UV radiation, the higher the number, the stronger the UV radiation.
Depending on your skin type, you might need protection when the UV index is anything over three.
Short term effects of over exposure
A suntan means that your skin has been damaged and is trying to protect itself. Your tan will fade, but the damage remains. Even short-term overexposure can cause sunburn, usually making the skin red, hot and painful. Soothe sunburnt skin with general lotions such as aqueous cream, aloe vera lotions or other similar. Severe sunburns may need medical treatment. If you have the following symptoms: a headache - feeling or being sick - feeling faint or dizzy - heavy sweating - hot skin - high temperature (between 37 and 39˚C) you may be suffering from Heat exhaustion, overheating after too much sun.
Get to a cool place as soon as possible and drink plenty of water. If the symptoms donÂ’t improve, or get worse, you should seek medical advice. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal if itÂ’s not treated.
Long term effects
In addition to the risk of skin cancer, UVA rays will age your skin causing wrinkles and sagging. UV rays can also damage your eyes. Too much sun exposure may even damage your immune system, increasing your risk of becoming ill.
How to protect yourself
The clothes you wear can protect your skin. Close weave materials block out most UV rays. A wide-brimmed hat will reduce the amount of UV radiation reaching your face.Sunglasses help to protect your eyes and eyelids. Wraparound sunglasses protect the skin around your eyes.
Choose sunglasses that have the following labels:
Â• 100 percent UV protection
Â• UV 400 Â— this means it protects from both UVA and UVB rays
Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen which means it protects your skin against UVA and UVB rays. Make sure it has a SPF of 15 or higher. The SPF tells you the effectiveness of the sunscreen at filtering out the UVB rays. UVA protection is measured with a star rating ranging from zero and five stars- opt for one with at least four stars.
Apply sunscreen every two hours Â– and not just when sunbathing. Apply more often if you go swimming, or sweat a lot. Water reflects the sunÂ’s rays so apply sunscreen before swimming.
It doesnÂ´t have to be sunny! Cloud doesnÂ’t stop the sunÂ’s UV rays getting through so protect yourself even if itÂ’s cloudy. Indeed, hazy sunshine can even increase your UV radiation exposure because the rays are scattered.