As we start spending more time outdoors enjoying the summer months, it’s important we remember to be Sun smart to protect our health. In our blog, we share some of the common terms you see and hear about sun protection, along with some top tips to stay safe in the sun this summer!
What are UVA VS UVB RAYS?
The sun emits two types of UV rays – UVA and UVB. Both can cause serious damage in different ways.
UVA Rays are always present throughout the day (even when cloudy). They are known to be the “aging” rays as they can cause long term effects such as wrinkles and discoloration. 80% of UVA rays reach the outer layer of the dermis (the layer of skin beneath the epidermis). They are responsible for 35% of skin cancers as well as causing premature aging. Typically, UVA rays do not cause burning as the damage occurs deeper in the skin. This can make them even more dangerous as we don’t feel the negative effects of them immediately. They can penetrate through glass and reach the skin even when indoors.
UVB Rays are typically strongest in the summer months however they are still present all year round. UVB rays are responsible for 96% of sunburn cases. Unlike UVA rays, they don’t penetrate the skin as deep – typically they cause damage to the outer layer of the skin which is almost immediately visible. UVB rays play a major role in skin cancers, particularly melanoma. However, they can’t penetrate through glass like UVA rays can.
WHAT IS SPF?
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) indicates the protection against UVB rays. To protect our skin, we need to apply a high SPF sunscreen – as a guide SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays.
It is important we choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen (this offers protection against UVA and UVB rays), with an SPF of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection, and water resistant. As there is no SPF that can provide 100% protection, sunscreen should be used in addition to protective clothing and shade.
KNOW THE UV INDEX
When the UV (ultraviolet radiation) index is 3 or above you need to protect your skin. In Ireland, the UV index is usually 3 or above from April to September, even when it’s cloudy. Stay safe by limiting time in the sun when UV is strongest, typically between the hours of 11am to 3pm. Check the UV index on the Met Eireann website.
Many people living in Ireland have fair skin – this type of skin burns easily and tans poorly, so there is a higher risk of UV damage and skin cancer. Exposure to UV radiation during childhood is particularly harmful so protecting skin during childhood is extremely important.
BE SUNSMART – THE 5 S’s
Slip on clothing: Cover skin as much as possible, wear long sleeves, collared t-shirts, clothes made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through.
Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection and water-resistant. Reapply regularly. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade.
Slap on a wide-brimmed hat: Protect your face, ears and neck.
Seek shade: Sit in the cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.
Slide on sunglasses: Guard your eyes against harm by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.
For more information follow this link: https://www.hse.ie/…/skin-cancer-prevention-sunsmart.html
SUN PROTECTION FOR ALL THE FAMILY
La Roche Posay’s Anthelios award winning range offers a range of SPF 30 – SPF 50 products. Dermatologically tested and easy to apply there are a range of creams, fluids and sprays to choose from for all the family.
At Adrian Dunne Pharmacy, we also have a selection of other family favourites including P20, Hawaiian Tropic, Piz Buin, Nivea and Ambre Solaire.