A 25-year-old British beautician’s story has gone viral after her forehead skin began looking like plastic after prolonged sun exposure. This incident has drawn attention to the importance of sunscreen to safeguard skin. While stepping out in the sun, either to run daily errands or for work, is inevitable, prolonged exposure to sunlight can wreak havoc on your skin, leading to some serious conditions.
Beautician Sirin Murad ended up getting a “plastic forehead” after sleeping outside under the sun, at a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius with no sunscreen, at a Bulgarian beach.
It’s a rude reminder of the important to know the precautions that can be taken to guard your skin against the harmful effect of ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Health Shots got in touch with dermatologist Dr Anupriya Goel, Berkowits Hair and Skin Clinic, to get deeper insights into the side effects of sun exposure and necessary precautions that can be taken.
Harmful effects of direct sun exposure
According to the expert, direct sun exposure can lead to exposure to UV-A and UV-B rays.
UVA rays can cause premature skin aging. It also causes changes at the level of the deeper layer of the skin which damages collagen and also decreases skin elasticity.
UVB rays cause skin tanning and can also be responsible for skin cancer. Fortunately, Indians have high melanin cells in the skin, which makes us less susceptible to skin cancer.
Precautions to take before stepping out in the sun
There are a few easy-to-do things that can be kept in mind before you hit the sunlight daily.
Sunscreen is non-negotiable
Sunscreen is your real weapon to save you from the high risk of exposure to sunlight. Needless to say, your beauty vanity or your daily bag should never be devoid of sunscreen. The most important thing to keep in mind before heading out is to use sunscreen on your face whatever the season may be. And, the game-changing beauty product has a lot more to it.
Dr Goel says, “Make sure that you always pick a sunscreen that should be a minimum of SPF-30. And, the PA star rating category helps in guarding the skin against UVA rays, while the SPF shields the skin against harmful UVB rays. The PA star category should be a minimum of three stars. Also, make sure that you apply your sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to stepping out in the sun. You should also re-apply it every 2 hours if you are under direct sunlight.”
Pro tip: Another thing that needs to be taken care of is the amount of sunscreen you apply daily. You should apply at least half a teaspoon or 3ml of sunscreen on your face.
Wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the harsh sun rays
Apart from wearing sunscreen, you can wear protective clothing to save yourself from getting a heat stroke in the scorching summer heat. So, you can wear a full-sleeved cotton shirt, wear a hat, or carry an umbrella to beat the summer heat.
Covering your body can go a long way in keeping your skin safe from the harsh summer light.
On the other hand, if you can’t bear to wear full body-covered clothing, you can always go ahead and apply sunscreen on the exposed parts of your body like the arms or neck.
So, bask in the sun with these precautions risk-free!