is blessed with the sun and long, happy days of swimming,
sailing and sunbathing. However, don't forget that too much
sun is not only bad for you, but can also be deadly. Not nearly
enough of us are heeding the health warnings. When the sun
is forever-shining on the lovely beaches and cities of Egypt,
you need to protect yourselves while having fun.
to the sun causes premature wrinkling, freckling, burning,
cataracts and increasing skin cancer. The more time you spend
in the sun over your lifetime, the greater your risk of developing
Two types of ultraviolet light strike the surface of the earth,
UVA and UVB. UVA gives a tan, and is almost harmless to plants
and animals. On the other hand, the shorter UVB waves damage
plant tissue and impair immunity causing sunburn and possibly
UV radiation even passes through water. 80% of UV rays pass
through clouds; and if you're planning desert trips, remember
that sand reflects sunlight and boosts the amount of UV radiation.
The Golden Menace
Although the sun's rays are progressively more harmful, it
is nearly impossible to resist lounging on the beach or sundeck.
Sunburns are bad, but a warm, glowing tan makes us look radiant,
alive and natural. A tan, however, is our skin crying for
us to get out of the sun.
occurs when the sun's ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin's
inner layers. This injures cells and makes the skin produce
more melanin as a response to the injury. Melanin provides
natural protection from sun damage. Everybody has varying
degrees of melanin; people with darker skin have more melanin
than those with fair skin, which is why they tan more easily.
Sunscreens provide varying shelter from different, harmful
rays. All SPF sunscreens filter out some UVB rays, but opt
for broad-spectrum creams. These safeguard against both UVA
(wrinkle-causing) and UVB (sun burn and skin cancer-causing)
rays and contain ingredients like Parsol, Zinc Oxide or Titanium
Dioxide. These ingredients block almost the entire spectrum
of damaging rays without exposing you to irritating chemicals.
Sun Protection Factor rating system has been established by
the American Food and Drug Administration. It primarily measures
how much UVB safety the product provides. Currently, the rating
system doesn't yet identify UVA protection. Numbers range
from as low as 2 to as high as 60. The numbers represent the
time needed to produce a sunburn on protected skin to the
time needed to produce a sunburn on unprotected skin. The
rating is based on individual skin type. For example, if a
sunscreen is rated SPF 2 and a fair-skinned person who'd normally
turn red after ten minutes of exposure in the sun uses it,
it's take twenty minutes of exposure for their skin to turn
red. A sunscreen with SPF 15 would allow that person 15 times
longer to burn.
Everyone needs protection, even people with dark skin. Greater
melanin lowers the risk of cancer, but doesn't eliminate it.
Regardless of skin type, The American Academy of Dermatology
suggests that a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 should
be used year-round. Higher SPF sunscreens are appropriate
for very sun-sensitive individuals. These higher formulas
contain blends of more than one sunscreen because no single-chemical
is capable of absorbing all UVB radiation.
Sunscreens should be used every day if you're going to be
in the sun longer than 20 minutes. They can be applied under
makeup. Many cosmetics include sunscreens for daily use because
sun protection is the principal means of preventing premature
aging and skin cancer. On the otherhand, through exposure
to the sun our skin produces much needed vitamin D.
sunscreens to dry skin 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
This allows the product to be absorbed, arming the skin before
facing the enemy. Cover the skin liberally. 'If you buy a
sunscreen or sunblock but apply less than recommended, you
may be dramatically lowering the amount of protection you're
getting' says Steven Neilbar, MD, medical director, Consumer
Health Care Group, Pfizer, Inc.
particular attention to the face, hands, arms and shoulders.
If you have short hair or wear it pulled back, give special
consideration to ears and neck. Use extra protection for lips.
Lips contain little or no melanin, making them a prime target.
Make sure your lip balm or gloss has at least an SPF of 15.
sand, sweat and towel-rubbing make lotion wear off, you need
to reapply frequently, depending on the manufacturer's instructions.
Go for a water-resistant sun screen for swimming, water sports
or if you perspire easily. Sunscreens have a shelf life. Two
years is usually the maximum, but being stored in excessive
heat quickens expiration. So if you've forgotten it in the
car's sweltering back seat or if the product's texture has
changed, buy a new one.