When in a climate like the UAE and even more so during the summer months, sun protection is one of the most talked-about topics.
As sunlight is known for producing harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, it can damage and cause multiple issues, like texture and pigmentation of the skin.
Over the years, the importance to protect oneself from the sun has been highlighted.
UV rays are divided into three types and not all types are detrimental to the skin.
Dr Umesh Nihalani, Specialist Dermatologist at Dubai London Clinic and Speciality Hospital said, "UV light is divided into UVA, UVB and UVC. Fortunately, UVC is almost completely absorbed by the ozone layer. 90% of the rest of the radiation can penetrate the clouds. UVA has long wavelengths and radiation and can penetrate deep, causing collagen tissue degeneration, photoaging, photo carcinogenesis and immunosuppression. UVA is constant throughout the year."
Dr Umesh further added, "UVB produces the most harmful effects and is greatest during the summer. Snow and ice can reflect UVB radiation. UVB rays can cause sunburn, suntan, inflammation, delayed erythema, inflammatory changes and pigmentation in the superficial layers. It is most intense when it is directly overhead."
If not protected from the harmful UVA and UVB rays, as advised by Dr Rahul Chaudhary, Specialist Dermatologist at Medcare, it can cause:
- Heat exhaustion
- Premature ageing
- Skin cancer
- Eye injuries
- Lowered immune system
- Skin rashes
One of the most common and well-known facts to protect our skin against the sun is by using sunscreen.
Dr Rahul Chaudhary, Specialist Dermatologist at Medcare mentioned that a water-resistant sunscreen is preferred as it does not get washed away when swimming under directly exposed sun rays as well as when sweating during the hot summer months.
To protect against the UVA and UVB rays, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher should be used on all the exposed parts of the body at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside and should be used every 2 to 3 hours.
A lip balm or lipstick with SPF in it can also help protect your lips from the sun.
According to a study brought up by Dr Umesh Nihalani, Specialist Dermatologist at Dubai London Clinic and Speciality Hospital, children that have been using sunscreen daily for the first 18 years of their lives were found to have reduced their lifetime incidence of skin cancer by 78%.
It is also advised to not use sunscreen on babies under 6 months and till 12 months should avoid exposure to the sun.
Additionally, clothing can help prevent the sun's rays from passing through.
Sun protection is extremely important in today's day and age where temperatures have been reaching an all-time high. Although it can take some effort to follow a strict regime, it can help in the long run and prevent causing serious skin issues.