Skin is the largest of our organs. It actually can weigh up to 20% of the human body! As a massage therapist, naturally, I work with skin all the time. I'm amazed at how it can be affected by so many things.
This time of year, we naturally start to think about how to protect our skin from the sun's harsh rays. Here are some Facts about Sun exposure:
When the suns rays reach the skin, they cause tanning, burning, and other skin damage.
The sun's rays contain three different types of ultraviolet light: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UVA rays cause skin aging and wrinkling and contribute to skin cancer, such as melanoma. Because UVA rays pass through the ozone layer, they make up the majority of our sun exposure. A UVA tan does not help protect the skin from further damage; it merely produces color and a FALSE sense of protection
UVB rays are also dangerous, causing sunburns, cataracts (clouding of the eye lens), and effects on the immune system. They also contribute to skin cancer. Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is thought to be associated with severe UVB sunburns that occur before the age of 20. Most UVB rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, but enough of these rays pass through to cause serious damage.
UVC rays are the most dangerous, but fortunately, these rays are blocked by the ozone layer and don't reach the earth.
Here are the key UV-protection measures adapted from the recommendations of the American Academy of Dermatology:
- Plan outdoor activities early or late in the day to avoid peak sunlight hours between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Sit in the shade whenever possible.
- Wear protective, tightly-woven clothing.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 on all exposed skin, including the lips, even on cloudy days.
- Use a water-resistant sunscreen if exposed to water, either through swimming or sweating.
- Apply sunscreen 20-30 min prior to exposure and reapply frequently.
You can protect your skin further during the summer by moisturizing it daily. Visiting a massage therapist will help with moisturizing. The oils will help rejuvenate and refresh your skin. BUT, note that most oils used by massage therapists provide ZERO sunscreen protection. So, plan accordingly, when you get a massage and bring your favorite sunscreen to apply before heading out for fun after your massage!