TEN RULES FOR PEOPLE WITH FAIR OR SENSITIVE SKIN, THOSE WITH SUN DAMAGE AND FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO PREVENT PREMATURE AGING OF THEIR SKIN.
By Dr David Buckley
- Too much sun (or sun beds) can cause skin cancer especially in Irish people who have sensitive skin. Excessive sun exposure (or sun beds) will also prematurely age the skin and cause wrinkles.
- Cover up in the sunny weather – wear a broad rimmed cotton or felt (not straw) hat that covers your face, ears and the back of your neck. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers or a long dress.
- Put a total sun block on the exposed skin (e.g. face, ears, neck, hands and feet). Choose a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater (i.e. the amount of UVB blockage). UVA protection factor must be at least one-third of the labelled SPF so choosing a sunscreen with a higher SPF will also mean high UVA protection.
- Beware of a cooling breeze, especially on a cloudy day when out bathing, golfing, gardening or on a boat as it may temporarily mask the burning effects of the sun rays which may be hidden by the clouds.
- Avoid going out in the middle of the day without protection (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) when the sun is most dangerous.
- Take care to protect your skin from the sun in spring and autumn, not just the summer months. Be extra careful when overseas in sunny countries.
- Never use a sun bed.
- Remember there is no such thing as a “safe tan”. Tanning is a sign of skin damage. However, fake tans are safe, but you still must use all the above precautions (i.e. total sun blocks and protective clothing) when in the sun.
- If you are being sun smart to protect your skin from ultra violet light you should consider taking a vitamin D supplement (approximately 800 iu or 20 μg per day) as the sun shining on our skin is our principal source of vitamin D.