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Protect skin from ever-present mate, the sun

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By Dora Salazar

For most people, nothing looks better than a sunny day. All of a sudden, the world seems to be more beautiful and outdoor activities start to flash though their minds.

Scientists have found that about 15 minutes of sun exposure a day can have positive benefits in our body. But to a yachtie, being exposed to the sun for much longer periods of time is the everyday routine. Working at open sea or at marinas means that direct contact with the sun is not a choice but a fact. Yacht crew tend to endure longer hours of direct contact with UV rays, and continuous sun exposure can have detrimental effects later in life.

In time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light severely damages the skin by breaking down collagen and elastin tissues that are the support structure of the skin, causing it to sag and lose resilience. It also prompts uneven pigmentation, distended blood vessels, and precancerous and cancerous lesions due to the negative effects that it has on the immune system. As a consequence the skin becomes more sensitive and the natural healing process becomes challenged.

The best way to defend the skin from the sun is protection. Here are five tips to have a safer time in the sun.

  1. Wear sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. Physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are preferred by most dermatologists because they become active upon application and create a shield that reflects the UV rays. In comparison, chemical sunscreens are UV neutralizers; the UV rays are absorbed and then neutralized. They tend to degrade more easily and require 20 minutes after application before they are effective. Some formulas contain a blend of mineral and chemical ingredients.

It’s important to note that SPF numbers relate to the protection time, not to the level of protection. For example, SPF 30 will provide about 10 hours of protection while an SPF 50 will provide 16. No matter what brand, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours to prevent sunburn.

  1. Drink water. It is essential to hydrate more regularly when exposed to the sun to maintain the balance of body fluids and to keep the skin healthy. One of the skin’s functions is to work as a protective barrier to prevent fluid loss, so replenishing its water content is crucial to maintaining hydration levels.
  2. Wear a hat. Look for a hat with a wide enough brim that can cover around the face. That will offer extra protection.
  3. Wear breathable clothing. Cotton, linen and bamboo fabrics are great options to help keep the body’s temperature cool.
  4. Wear sunglasses. Long-term exposure to UV rays can damage the eye’s internal structures. Ophthalmologists recommend choosing sunglasses that are labeled as blocking 99-100 percent of UV rays. Some manufacturers’ labels say “UV absorption up to 400nm.”

Become aware of sun exposure and develop a practical regimen that can be followed regularly. Look for skincare products that provide high antioxidant ingredients and hydration. Prevention not only will keep the skin looking younger but will hinder irreversible damage.

Dora Salazar is the owner and aesthetic director of Techno-Facials in Ft. Lauderdale. Contact her through www.techno-facials.com.

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One thought on “Protect skin from ever-present mate, the sun

  1. Block Island Organics

    One more thing to look for when choosing a sunscreen is “broad spectrum” on the label. SPF only measures UVB protection but broad spectrum means you’ll also get UVA protection. Both types of UV rays cause skin damage so it’s important to look for. Our Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 and our Natural Face Moisturizer SPF 30 are both examples of broad spectrum products.

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