Frequently Asked Questions about UV Radiation
Disclaimer: Not medical or professional advice.
The warmth of the sun is associated with joy, beautiful tanned skin, and an abundance of fruits and berries. However, sunbathing has its downside: the sun-kissed skin is not actually kissed but irreversibly traumatized.
The amount of ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure a person gets depends on the strength of the rays, which is defined as the UV Index.
What is the UV Index?
Scientists have developed a scale from zero and above for measuring the UV index. The higher the level, the stronger the UV exposure. Besides, ultraviolet rays pose serious risks to the earth and affect human skin and eyes. Understanding the UV Index level can protect against harmful effects. You may wonder about the meaning of the UV index in the weather forecast. In simple terms, it is an indicator of the risk degree from sun exposure.
You can easily find out the UV index by using a weather application. As we usually check whether it will rain tomorrow, equal attention should also be paid to the UVI section, which stands for Ultraviolet Index. A UV Index of 0-2 means there is minimal danger from the sun's UV rays. Thus, then protection is not required as it is safe even for people with fair skin.
You should consider using sun protection when the value ranges from 3 to 7. At noon, it is better to stay in the shade, wear long sleeves and cover exposed body parts with sunscreen. The highest UV index of 8 requires enhanced protection. It is recommended not to leave the house for non-essential reasons. You should definitely use protective creams. Risk assessment should become a daily habit.
Health Effects of UV Radiation — The Risks and Benefits
Ultraviolet is not always an enemy, but under certain conditions, you can become friends. Ultraviolet light relieves pain and promotes the formation of vitamin D. The sunlight intensifies the process of oxidation, resulting in better oxygen absorption. The general tonus of the human body increases under the influence of ultraviolet rays. Therefore, it enhances the resistance to infectious diseases.
But if you do not control the UV index, then the effect on the body will be terrible. Chronic exposure to the sun gives rise to frequent colds, skin problems, eczema and ulcers. Dermatitis can develop into oncology. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers nowadays.
UV radiation has a profound effect on the eyes. Unprotected sun exposure to the eyes may cause acute retinitis. The lens constantly absorbs harmful solar radiation, which can lead to Glassblower's cataracts. Without proper protection, the sun's rays can contribute to serious vision problems.
The Risks of Sunbathing Topless?
Women have a complex relationship with the sun. It is impossible to resist spending time in the sunshine, which gives a wonderful bronze tan. Nevertheless, endless hours in the sun lead straight to the hospital. Ultraviolet light triggers the mechanism of melanoma development - skin cancer. The blazing sun first strengthens the immune system, and then UV kills immune cells after overheating. Breast care specialists highly recommend protecting your breasts from the sun. Topless sunbathing can be harmless for young girls, while it is dangerous for women after 30 years. You should not forget about photoaging: there is no one-size-fits-all method of treatment. All the wrinkles caused by the sun will remain forever.
Protecting Children from the Sun
Children require special protection from ultraviolet radiation as they are not able to take care of their safety. The full responsibility falls on the parents. No matter how much you want the sun's rays to warm your babies, there is no need to expose infants to the sun. Their skin is not yet prepared for this experience. To ensure the baby gets enough vitamin D, it is enough to walk in the shade of trees. At the same time, children from three years old can be in the sun without protection for 15 minutes. If the baby's skin is covered with sunscreen, then he can stay under the sun for up to 75 minutes. The risk group includes children with fair skin and light eyes. Their skin is not able to give proper protection from the sun.
How to Choose the Right Sunscreen?
Preparing various sunscreen products for the summer is a common need in the modern world. But how to find the best one? Is higher SPF sunscreen better?
Sun Protection Factor is calculated from the rate of skin reddening. Many people mistakenly believe that a cream with SPF 50 will protect the skin better than the same cream with SPF 30. Most often, the higher the SPF level, the more expensive the product. You might be surprised, but SPF 30 will protect the skin from the sun with the same efficiency as a cream with SPF 50. The only difference is in the amount of time when it is necessary to reapply the product.
What Makes a PERFECT Sunscreen?
- It must completely prevent damage from harmful UV rays that lead to sunburn, suppress immunity, and cause free radicals.
- It should be fully effective on the skin for several hours without losing its properties.
- It should not form harmful chemicals.
- It should have a pleasant smell and easy application method.
How to Apply Sunscreen Correctly?
Clean your skin and apply your daily care cream that suits your skin type. Give it a moment to get absorbed before applying sunscreen. Also, the skin on your neck and the decolletage can betray your age. So, do not forget to apply the cream to these areas as well. Pay attention to your foundation, and if it is oil-based, then the cream should be the same.
Is SPF in Foundation Enough?
These products have a low level of protection, which does not protect against both types of ultraviolet rays. Do not worry about getting a greasy or sticky feeling after combining your foundation and sunscreen. Modern products are so lightweight and that you will not even notice them. And your skin will thank you.
Regardless of using a cream, you should follow these important rules.
- Limit the time spent in the sun, especially from 10 am to 2 pm.
- Wear long sleeves, pants.
- Wear hats and sunglasses.
- Avoid sunlight in the middle of the day and stay in the shade.
How to Protect your Baby's Skin from the Sun?
If you've been walking with your baby with no limits at other times of the year, you have to change your habits in the summer. Spending time outside at noon is not a good idea. Pediatricians agree that babies should be kept out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its strongest. Walking during this time can result in sunburn or heatstroke in children. It is best to take a walk twice a day: immediately after breakfast when the air is not warm, and in the evening, when the sun is not so hot.
When you go outside on a sunny day with your baby, do not forget to protect exposed areas with sunscreen. Make sure your baby has a cap or sunglasses to protect eyes. According to scientists, it is very important because sunlight is related to the development of myopia or nearsightedness.
- Beware of dehydration. Babies rapidly lose body fluid during hot weather. The symptoms of dehydration can be easily missed, but a minor imbalance in the body's fluid levels is enough to compromise immunity. Therefore, always take a bottle of water for all your walks.
- Monitor the child’s condition. If you notice that the baby has a fever and his skin turns red - these are symptoms of a sunburn. It is better to apply burn ointment to the affected skin immediately. Carefully monitor your child: give him plenty to drink and bring down the temperature. See your doctor if your child's symptoms do not improve or if your child is unwell.
What Causes Photodermatosis?
Most often, in the case of (allergic) photodermatosis, the immune cells of the skin begin to consider the sun as their enemy. Photodermatosis occurs for two reasons: external and internal. The external factor of negative solar reaction can be triggered by cosmetics that we apply to the skin.
The most obvious photosensitizers are components of cosmetics (fragrances, oils of bergamot, lime, sandalwood, lemon, and cedar). Even your favorite fruits like lime, lemon, figs, as well as parsley, celery, nuts, and honey can provoke an allergic reaction to the sun.
Internal factors include pathologies of various organs and systems - digestive system diseases (gastritis, enterocolitis), deficiency of B vitamins, protein starvation, impaired absorption of vitamins in the intestine.
5 Tips to Reduce your Risk for Photodermatosis
- Avoid direct exposure to the sun. Treat somatic diseases on time and use photoprotective agents. Products with seaweed extracts are considered especially effective since their mycosporine amino acids protect the cell membrane from photodamage.
- Use skin products containing vitamins B1, B6, glycerin, lipid complex, jojoba oil, shea butter, and various waxes.
- Watch your diet — choose easy-to-digest foods. Avoid fatty, spicy dishes, sodas, and fast food to keep your digestive system healthy and help it absorb all vitamins.
- Wear clothing that covers all of the potential sun-exposed areas. Choose a lightweight and natural fabrics. Cover your head with a broad-brimmed hat and wear sunglasses.
Photodermatosis is a disease that does not go away on its own. Without treatment, it causes chronic diseases such as eczema, autoimmune disorders, lupus erythematosus, and vasculitis.
How to Treat Sunburn
Probably, each one of us has once overdone the sun exposure and ended up looking like a lobster. The sun burns children's skin especially quickly. Although, every case is individual.
Sometimes it is not immediately clear that the skin is damaged. However, over time, you may have signs that include redness, burning, painful skin, local and general high temperature (it depends on the extent of the burn), general weakness, blistering, or peeling skin.
If you notice signs of sunburn (redness, burning), you need to.
- Move the affected person to a cool area or at least into the shade
- Try to cool damaged skin to stop burn development. You can put the affected down in a pond, pool, or cool bath. If this is not possible, then wet a towel with cold water and cover the burn area. Keep it for at least 15-20 minutes and repeat.
- After cooling, you can start treating the burn. You can use any products with a regenerating and analgesic effect.
When does a Sunburn Need Medical Attention?
- A sunburn covers a large area of a child’s body.
- A sunburn is accompanied by severe itching or swelling (a possible allergic reaction).
- Extensive sunburns led to a general worsening of the condition: weakness, nausea/vomiting, loss of consciousness.