The sun: cutaneous ageing factor.
The sun has a positive effect on our body thanks to its ultraviolet (UV) rays which contribute to the synthesis of vitamin D. For this process to be fully realised however, 10 minutes of sun a day is all we need. More than 10 minutes of exposure without protection runs the risk of leading to burns, temporary allergies, and accelerating the ageing process in the long run.
Tanning occurs due to ultraviolet rays, which stimulate the production of melanin, the molecule responsible for skin pigmentation.
Upon reacting with the pigments that are already present in the skin, UV rays effect tanning, but once they reach the dermis free radicals are produced and the cutaneous cellular membrane is altered together with DNA, leading to the rupture of collagen and elastin fibres, promoting the appearance of wrinkles (that which is responsible for the skin’s elasticity). They also affect melanin, promoting the appearance of blemishes. Furthermore there is always the risk of suffering from skin cancer.
The best preventive remedy for the deterioration of the skin is to protect ourselves from the sun’s radiation. In order to ensure this an appropriate sun cream should be worn throughout the year, as well as daily moisturising with suitable unguents.
How to protect our skin against the sun
Firstly the correct solar protection factor should be used according to skin type:
- SPF between 2 and 10 for minimum protection. (For dark skin types)
- SPF between 15 and 20 for medium protection. (For tanned skin types)
- SPF between 30 and 50 for maximum protection. (For fair skin types)
Apply sun cream 30 minutes prior to exposure, allowing the skin to properly absorb it and ensure adequate protection.
It is recommended to use a special sun cream for the face and another for the rest of the body. Remember that no cream guarantees total protection (throughout the day) so cream must be reapplied every 2 hours. Avoid sunbathing when the sun is at its most potent, between 12 h and 16 h, and use sunglasses and hats for maximum protection.