Summer months and high temperatures inevitably force us to spend time outside. Sunbathing provides us with the synthesis of vitamin D which is essential for bone development and strengthening of our immune system in general. To accumulate enough vitamin D for the whole year it is enough to sunbathe for 15 minutes whole body during our vacation. But we mustn’t forget adequate sunscreen for the rest of our stay in the sun.
During the walks around town, it is necessary to protect our face with UVA and UVB protection factor higher then 15, which will protect the exposed facial skin from harmful influence of solar radiation. Sunglasses should also not be forgotten.
A high intake of red and orange fruits and vegetables rich in beta carotene will make our skin more resistant to UV radiation and it will make it easier to get a tan. Vitamins C and E are important to us as they are strong antioxidants. It is believed that any darkening and tanning of the skin is actually skin damage from UV radiation, and to battle this, an adequate amount of vitamins will help.
The Sun dries the skin, causing it to rupture and damages its barriers. Skin hydration is necessary, with adequate creams and lotions and also by taking adequate amounts of water.
Gradual exposure to the Sun is essential to adapt our skin to it. UVB radiation is primarily responsible for the burning of the skin, but with gradual exposure we won’t burn, and a tan will form that will protect the skin from the deep UVA penetration.
It is a great fallacy to think that by visiting the tan booths (solariums) you are preparing your skin for sunbathing. UVA radiation is used in solariums and it deeply penetrates the skin and causes damage to its genetic structure but it doesn’t create protection from UVB radiation from the solar spectrum. Every exposure to this type of radiation during your lifetime is added and with years it leads to the appearance of various skin cancers, elastin damage and premature aging.
This harmfulness of solariums is such that in most countries of the European Union they are banned to persons younger then 18 without the signature of their parents.
High temperatures force us to wear short and light wardrobe which can not protect us from harmful solar radiation. In the summer, we should have thin wardrobe but with long sleeves, so that it will cover most of our body. Thin clothes are equal to protection factor 15. Protection factor 15 is enough in the city but not on the beach. This is the reason you burn easily under a canvas umbrella (SPF15) even though you spend the whole day in its shade.
The Sun is at its strongest between 10h and 16h and therefore the UV radiation is too. You shouldn’t be on the beach at that time.
The best protection in the morning and afternoon hours are creams with adequate protection factor. Protection factor on the cream signifies how much time we can spend under the Sun before our skin will burn. It is considered that there is no protection factor larger then 50, even though some creams have a caption that says p.f. 90. When you choose a sunscreen with a protection factor it is necessary to see if it says UVA and UVB protection. Creams primarily protect us from UVB radiation and with more information becoming abundant about the harmfulness of the UVA radiation, the cream ingredients that contain chemical and physical skin protection factors also change.
Children under 1 shouldn’t be directly exposed to the solar radiation because their skin is not prepared for it. After their first year it is necessary to use protection creams adjusted to the child’s age. We mustn’t forget the headdress that protects the scalp which can very often contain moles hidden in the hair.
Before and after Sun exposure it is desirable to perform dermoscopic mole imaging and therefore check to which degree we can be exposed. Persons with a large number of moles or irregular moles should protect themselves more then the rest of the population.
Dermatim, dermatology center