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Saving Your Skin Is In

Sep 2, 2007
Walking down the beach on a bright sunny day you notice all of the sunbathers are young, tan and healthy looking. The smell of tanning oil is everywhere and the waves are lapping the shore just like in the vacation brochures. As you head to refreshment stand to get a cool drink and while standing in line you see what appears to be two walking, talking leather handbags. The couple could be in their late fifties but their skin looks more like ninety. Your mind goes back to the sunbathers on the beach and you suddenly realize that there may be a connection between too much sun and the type of skin damage that can leave you looking like an alligator on spring break.

Tanning is still big business with billions of dollars spent worldwide on indoor tanning sessions, lotions, self-tanning sprays and the like. In spite of recent warnings about spending too much time in the sun, there still seems to be a very strong societal connection between having a tan and maintaining the appearance of health and youth. It is almost as though we can not help ourselves and lets be honest, the warmth of the sun just feels good, especially for those of us who live in less temperate climates and spend the long months of winter yearning for the warmth of the summer sun.

Speaking of money, many producers have jumped on the sunscreen bandwagon marketing an almost endless variety of creams, lotions and sunglasses that claim to offer some level of protection from the dreaded UV or ultraviolet rays that manage to reach the surface of the earth in spite of the protective layer of ozone that surrounds the planet. The airwaves and print media are chock full of information about avoiding exposure to UV rats yet many consumers are still confused about the risks while others do not seem to take the matter seriously.

Now ozone can be good or bad depending on where it is. On the earths surface it is pollutant and can actually be harmful to air breathers like say, humans. High up in the earths atmosphere, ozone or O3 is our friend and helps to absorb the dark spectrum or ultraviolet light rays the are constantly bombarding the surface of the planet. A problem arises when, as suggested by recent scientific research, the layer of protective ozone gets thinner and allows more UV radiation to reach the surface. Further research would suggest more than a casual connection between increases in UV radiation and an increase in the instance of skin cancers and damage to the eyes. While much is still being debated scientifically, the prevailing attitude is swinging towards avoiding overexposure to the sun.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to sunscreen is the higher the SPF or sun protection factor the better. The factor is calculated rather simply, by assuming that with no protection, it takes ten minutes for the sun to turn fair, unprotected skin red. Armed with that knowledge you can see how effective the SPF rating might be. A product with an SPF of four means it will take forty minutes for the sun to turn skin red. Higher on the scale, using a product with an SPF of 30 means it will take the sun three hundred minutes or about five hours to turn your skin red. Now this information is not intended to be a substitute for adequately protecting yourself but is used merely to make the point that using a product with a higher SPF rating may afford more protection than a product with a lower SPF rating and is certainly better than not using sunscreen at all.

So do your skin a favor and always use a good quality sunscreen and do not overdo the sunshine, unless you happen to like looking like that couple at the refreshment stand.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a short article writer for the popular
skin care web site
provides informative advice on skin care, acne prevention and cure, cosmetic, tanning and sun

effects on the skin. His website, http://www.SkinCareSystem.com is full of skin care

remedies and techniques.
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