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Have you ever taken the time to understand the science behind sun protection? Do you know the difference between UVA’s and UVB’s?

In order to make the right choices and prevent severe complications, grasping the importance of avoiding the sun is crucial, especially for us here in Sunny South Africa.

Educating yourself could help save your life, or at the least keep you healthier and looking younger for longer – and who would not love that?

What you need to know about UVA and UVB rays

UV radiation from the sun is transmitted in three wavelengths – UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC does not penetrate the earth’s atmosphere, so we only really need to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays affect the elastin in the skin and lead to wrinkles and sun-induced skin ageing such as coarse wrinkles, leathery skin and pigmentation patches as well as skin cancer. They can penetrate window glass and do penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB, deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. Exposing your bare skin to these rays without sufficient sun protection will lead to premature skin aging and most importantly, suppression of the immune system. And when your skin’s defences are down, it is at high risk of skin cancer. When you choose a sunscreen make sure that it has UVA protection.

UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of the skin. It is the form of UV radiation most responsible for sunburn and has been linked to malignant melanomas and basal cell carcinomas (two very dangerous types of skin cancer). A sunscreen with a high SPF will help block UVB rays and will prevent the skin from burning, and by extension will also prevent damage that can cause skin cancer. The intensity of UVB rays vary by season, location and time of day, with 10AM to 4PM being the peak hours.


The dangers of tanning

The truth is, there is no safe way to tan. If you do not want to, it is still possible for your skin to tan when using a low to medium SPF sunscreen. This is becauseof the tiny amount of ultraviolet which gets through. The only way to avoid a tan would be to very carefully and regularly apply lots of high SPF sunscreen with high UVA protection too. If no ultraviolet gets through, no damage and therefore no tanning can occur.

Golden, glowing skin is a very coveted attribute and something many people are after as soon as we enter Spring. In people’s minds, a tan is synonym of youth and healthy radiance, but over time it causes just the opposite: a change in skin texture, wrinkling, age spots or worse – skin cancer.
Did you know that a tan is actually a sign that our skin has been harmed by UV radiation and is trying to defend itself against further damage?

Please do wear high SPF sunscreen everyday no matter what your skin colour is or what your plans are. You can also get burnt when it seems relatively cloudy. Protecting yourself should be the most important step in your beauty routine.


World UV App

The Met Office, in association with the British Association of Dermatologists have created the World UV App, a genius tool that gives you real time information on daily UV levels across over 10,000 locations around the world. This app is free and can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Thanks to a GPS system, it finds your location and provides you with relevant UV information so that you can take adequate measures. What’s more, this app will also educate you on your skin type and will provide you with great advice to protect your skin from the sun.

I hope that you found this article interesting and are still enjoying this Summer campaign?  It has been great for me to share this precious information with you! If you have questions on skincare or any of the treatments and procedures I offer at my practice, please do give my rooms a call on 011 954 0070/3 and I will gladly help you.

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