The Importance of Sun Protection Year round ...

Damage created by exposure to the sun is irreversible and can cost us our lives. There are products and even cosmetic procedures that can improve the appearance of our skin, but even so, the damage to the underlying structure of the skin remains.

Skin protection is an important part of any skincare regime. Prolonged exposure to the sun causes loss of elastin and collagen, at a faster rate than through the natural ageing process which leads to premature ageing. Other key factors that impact on the health of your skin include lifestyle, diet, genetics, stress, smoking, alcohol consumption and how you look after your skin.

Sun protection is a vital element of any good skin care process. Using a quality sunscreen, to curb the ageing and more serious damaging effects of the sun is key. The most serious and life threatening aspects of sun damage to your skin, are the risks of skin cancer and melanoma.

While sun exposure is important for Vitamin D, healthy bones, increasing serotonin levels which enhance mood, and other health benefits, protection from the sun can prevent health issues with serious consequences. The National Centre for Biotechnology states that the rising increase of skin cancer as a large scale public health issue is a growing concern and at times is preventable in many cases.

Some tips on protecting yourself from the damaging effects of the sun.

1. Sunscreen

Protecting your skin every day from the damaging effects of the sun is one of the most important things we can do for our skin and our health. Sunscreen is essential. Two types of rays UVA and UVB are the most harmful to the skin. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects from both. Sunscreen assists in blocking UV light to protect you from sunburn and to protect your skin.

You need to be on the look-out for at least an SPF 50 plus sunscreen that is water resistant. There are many types of sunscreens on the market, and so you are not short on choice. The following are some excellent sunscreen products with affordable prices to help prevent and minimize damage: Nivea Sun Protect and Moisture SPF 50 plus, Natio has an excellent 50 plus range of sunscreen products such as Broad Spectrum Sunscreen 50+, Dermaveen Revive and Protect Body Moisturizer SPF50+, and Dermalogica Protection 50 + Sport.

Apply sunscreen daily and at least 15 to 20 minutes before going outdoors. Re- apply at least every 2 hours outdoors and every hour when being active such as swimming or running, and use a sunscreen that has not expired. Any sunscreen with an expired date should be thrown out.

2. Limit Exposure to the Sun

Avoid sun-baking. In this day and age, with global warming and ozone depletion, it really is not a good idea, and should not be encouraged or indulged in. The same goes for tanning by artificial means such as solariums.

Limiting exposure to sunlight especially during its strongest hours between 10 am to 4 pm also helps. If you do need to be outdoors seek shade, such as under a large tree, umbrella, and so on.

3. Every Day

Keeping hydrated, using a hat with good coverage such as wide brimmed hats, bucket hats or floppy hats to protect your head and face. Wear sunglasses, and protective clothing, and also carry an umbrella too for shade.