Sun Damaged Skin

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What are the harmful effects of sun?

Sun allergy, freckles, sun burns, suntan, pigmentation and aging are the common harmful effects of sun on skin. Up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun. The more serious side effects are skin cancer which is more commonly seen in the fair skinned individuals.

What is the difference between sun burn and sun tan?

Sun Burn is an allergy seen on short term exposure to sun. It is seen as a painful/sore red patch on sun-exposed areas and can even develop blisters. Sun Tan on the other hand is a painless darkening of sun seen after a sun exposure. While sun burn is commonly seen in fairer individuals (Type I,II skin), sun tan is commonly seen in darker individuals (Type IV,V,VI skin). Both are temporary and self resolving unless the sun exposure is continued.

What is the difference between sun-tan and pigmentation after sun exposure?

Sun Tan is a temporary response of the body to sun exposure. Prolonged exposure of sun can result in persistent darkening of skin which needs treatment and doesn't resolve on its own.

Are all pigmentations aggravated by sun exposure?

No. Like a Birthmark will not need sun protection. But any Pigmentation which is acquired needs sun protection as the pigment cells in our skin (melanocytes) are motivated by sun to multiply.

Is Aging related to sun exposure?

Yes. Sun exposure causes patchy pigmentations, damages the texture, makes the fine lines into deeper lines, makes skin features coarser and causes sagging of skin. Hence instead of buying expensive anti-aging creams packaged in glossy jars, using a humble sunscreen will do more good. That doesn't reduce the role of a good anti-aging cream but using it without a sunscreen is of no use at all.

Are all sunscreens greasy?

Not necessarily. There are sunscreens available in gel preparations which are not greasy. Cream preparations are suited for dry skin. Lotions are best suited for the body.

Is a cosmetic sunscreen equivalent to its medical counterpart?

No. The fact that a medical sunscreen has gone thru' a battery of tests to assert its effectivity and safety makes it superior to its cosmetic counterpart.

Is a high SPF recommended?

SPF only provides protection against Ultraviolet B rays. Also a SPF 40 doesn't mean that the sun protection is double that of SPF 20. The difference is only that a SPF 20 provides 90 % protection and a SPF 40 will provide 99% protection.

What should I look for while buying a sunscreen?

Firstly, choose a medical sunscreen over a cosmetic sunscreen. Then check its spf. A nonproblem Indian skin doesnt need spf 50. Aspf 15 - 25 is enough. Then check UV A protection. UV A +++ is good. Then look for the consistency - gel/cream or lotion.

What are the beneficial effects of sun on the skin?

Sun is responsible for Vitamin D synthesis and boosts the immunity of the body.

Doesn't using a sunscreen deprive us of the beneficial effects of sun?

No. Exposure to the sun of area equivalent to that of the hands for 15 minutes in a week is enough to carry out the protective functions of the skin.

Is it ok if I use an umbrella instead of a sunscreen?

A black umbrella is the most effective against Ultraviolet rays but not the entire body is protected at all times. So it is better that a sunscreen is used along with umbrella.

Do I need to wear a sunscreen if I am travelling in a car?

Yes. Definitely. The Ultraviolet rays easily penetrate glass so it is essential to wear sunscreen while driving.

Is it mandatory to repeat sunscreen after a couple of hours?

Yes. It is essential to repeat sunscreen after every 2 - 3 hours.

Should sunscreen be used in children?

In view of increased penetration of Ultraviolet rays in the earth's atmosphere due to decreased ozone layer and increased exposure to water sports and swimming etc in children, parents can start using sunscreen for their children after the age of 2 years.

Is a water resistant sunscreen better than a regular sunscreen?

Water resistant sunscreens are better for those who indulge in water sports or during a beach trip. Since water resistant sunscreens are generally more greasy, they are not recommended for daily usage.