The 5 W's of Sun Exposure & Learning your ABCs
It’s June now which means summer is here. Which means the season of using sun protection is back! I’m here today to bring you some lessons I’ve learned in my years, along with some research, to tell you more about sun protection. I did a poll on my Instagram awhile back and many people didn’t know too much about SPF! So I’m here to bring you the 5 W’s of sun exposure, and teach you your ultraviolet ABCs!
5 W’s of Sun Exposure
WHAT IS ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION AND SPF?
Ultraviolet radiation (UV) to simply it are invisible rays part of the energy that comes from the sun. More specifically, it is a electromagnetic radiation or light having a wavelength greater than 100nm but less than 400 nm. It has a wavelength longer than that of x-rays but shorter than that of visible light. Ultraviolet radiation reaches the Earth’s surface and makes up three types of rays, what we know as UVA, UVB and UVC.
UV rays are measured by a numbered index. Your local news and weather channels will tell you what to expect the level will reach each day. Below is a basic chart outlining the index levels and precautionary measures from UPMC.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. It is the measure of how long you will be protected for. For example, SPF 15 means you can be in the sun 15 times longer than it would normally take for you to burn without protection. It indicates how long it will take for UVB rays to redden skin when using a sunscreen, compared to how long skin would take to redden without apply sun protection product.
DID YOU KNOW?
An SPF 15 sunscreen screens 93 percent of the sun's UVB rays; SPF 30 protects against 97 percent; and SPF 50, 98 percent.
The Skin Cancer Foundation maintains that SPFs of 15 or higher are necessary for adequate everyday protection
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE PROTECTED?
UV Radiation, can cause
Melanoma and several other types of skin cancers
Sun damage that prematurely ages the skin
Altered function of immune system
WHEN IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME FOR UV EXPOSURE OR SUN DAMAGE?
Most of the day’s UV rays from the sun come between 9 am to 5pm. However, almost a third of the day’s strongest rays come between 11 am to 1pm, according to the American Cancer Society, UV rays are dangerous throughout the year, but are strongest during summer.
WHERE DOES UV RADIATION COME FROM & WHERE SHOULD I BE PROTECTED?
UV radiation comes mostly from the sun and tanning beds. In addition, you may be exposed to UV radiation via special laps or lasers used to treat skin conditions. I have gathered a list of tips for you to stay protected!
SPF 15 is the lowest protection level recommended by the NHS or Cancer Research UK
Look for broad spectrum protection; covers both UVA and UVB
If you use SPF 30, apply 30 minutes before heading out into the sun
2-3 year shelf life generally for sunscreens. Check bottles first.
11am to 3pm are the hours you're at the most risk of sun damage, so take shade under trees, inside buildings, etc.
Use aloe vera to soothe any sunburns
Do use products containing hyaluronic acid, soy extract and panthenol to boost hydration and soothe inflammation.
Don’t wear perfumes and oils in the sun, as these may cause inflammation when exposed to UV.
Don’t use petroleum-based products; they trap heat in the skin and exacerbate the sunburn
WHO IS MOST AFFECTED BY UV EXPOSURE?
EVERYONE IS AFFECTED BY UV EXPOSURE. Everyone should be protected. Sunscreen should be applied to children especially and should wear protective clothing for those spending time in the sun. Babies younger than six months should be protected using hats and clothing, and additionally be kept out of the direct sunlight. EVERYONE is exposed all year round. UV rays will still penetrate through clouds.
THE ABCs of ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION
think of a for "aging"
also plays role in skin cancer formation
penetrates more deeply into the skin
greater role in premature skin aging (wrinkles, brown spots, etc.)
sun's silent killers; you don't feel the effects of UVA rays damaging your skin
UVA rays are the cause of tanning (uunless you burn first). Unfelt UVA rays reach deep into skin, causing havoc in every layer
UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface.
They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass. (Reason why you need to use sunscreen all throughout the year; even winter)
Not surprisingly, people who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma. Tanning salons emit UVA 12 times more than the sun.
According to recent research, first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.
think of it as B = "burning"
responsible for producing sunburn and skin reddening
greatest role in causing skin cancers (malignant melanoma)
damage skin's superficial epidermal layers
contributory role in tanning and photo aging
intensity varies by season, location and time of day
UVB can burn and damage skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.
does not reach the earth’s surface (absorbed by atmosphere)
is not normally considered a risk factor for skin cancer
found in man-made sources of UVC radiation (mercury lamps, welding torches)
used in tanning beds in the past
I hope this was a little bit helpful! I know for me sometimes it is difficult for me to keep using any sun protection. Luckily, I got my hands on the Pixi Sun Mist that acts as a broad spectrum sun protection barrier mist with SPF 30! So that’s a good step at least for me! Because let’s be real, I have phases of using sun protection. I’m guilty!
Once again, thank you all for taking the time to read this. I hope you learned something new!
Make sure to follow me on my social media accounts to stay up to date with me!
Note: Most of the provided information above in this post is taken from various online sources. Some of the information provided does however back up the information I have learned in the years. If there is incorrect information in this blog post, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I will change in accordance to correct information as best as I can.