Too Much Sun
"The sun did it!!!"
This cheery advertising slogan used to refer to that subtle blond bleaching of the hair so popular back in the Troy Donahue (back in the 50's) days. Now, when we give credit to the sun, it's more likely to be because of premature aging of the skin, photosensitivity reactions and skin cancer. A tan is no longer considered a sign of good health. Rather, it represents skin injury.
Let's look at the ABC's of the suns rays, that is, the different types of ultraviolet radiation to which we are exposed.
Certain people may be more susceptible to the effects of the sun. This
will include those with fair skin, freckles or numerous moles, people
who tend to burn easily or tan minimally, those taking certain medications
which cause photosensitivity, and anyone with a family history of skin
cancer. Most of our sun exposure occurs by the time we are 20 years
old, so protection is particularly important in children.
SUNSCREENS and SUNBLOCKS
Sunscreen work by "absorbing" the sun's rays so that they
do not hit the skin. Their relative effectiveness is measured by the
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor. The higher the SPF, the more, or longer
the protection you receive. Theoretically, an SPF will allow you to
remain in the sun 15 times longer without burning than if you didn't
apply it. These numbers may be an overestimate. In addition, many sun
worshippers do not apply their sunscreen properly or adequately.
© Copyright 2000 Dr. Mark Wise
Dr. Mark Wise is the director of The Travel Clinic (TM)) in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada and the Medical Director of The Travel Wise (TM) Clinic in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. He is a family physician with training from the London School of Tropical Medicine in Tropical Diseases. He is a parent himself and often see potential adoptive parents in his clinic. Dr. Wise gives lectures and writes articles on the subject of travel medicine, for both medical and non-medical groups.
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