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Woman in hat sheltering herself from the sun

Sun precautions to take

The sun is a factor in the acceleration of skin ageing. Due to its ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB, it is responsible for the premature appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and can also lead to the formation of dark spots on the skin, hands and cleavage.

Prepare your skin

Did you know? Fruits and vegetables which are rich in beta carotene prepare your skin to receive the sun, as they stimulate the production of melanin, a substance that the body produces to protect us from the rays of the sun and which give us a good complexion. But nonetheless take care, since whilst it prepares your skin for the sun, it does not however prevent sun damage: so don’t forget to protect your skin with a special sunscreen! In order to enjoy the benefits of these fruits and vegetables, you must eat them from at least ten weeks before you go on holiday. Rich in anti-oxidants, they will also help protect you from the free radicals which are provoked by UV rays. Tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, melon, mango, pepper: it is easy to recognize them, go by their red, yellow or orange color.

Limit exposure

Avoid staying in the sun during the hottest hours of the day, in other words between 11am and 4pm. Don’t forget that, even under an umbrella or in the shade, 30% of ultraviolet rays, reflected by the ground or stretches of water, succeed in reaching you.

If you take photo-sensitive medicines or wear scented products (perfume, eau de toilette), do not stay in the sun whatever the time of day, as you risk suffering allergies, burns, spots and other skin reactions.

Finally, do not forget that every moment spent outside counts (gardening, DIY, sporting activities) and not just the time spent with the intention of “catching the sun.”

Different ways to protect yourself

In the sun, the best thing is to wear long cotton clothes, sunglasses and a hat or cap. Every day, choose lotions which contain UV filters and when you know that you will be spending time in the sun, for example at the weekend or on holiday, don’t forget your sunscreen. Choose one which filters UVA and UVB rays and which has a high sun protection factor, or SPF, between 30 and 50 depending on your type of skin. For optimum protection, make sure that you expose yourself to the sun as gradually as possible and apply sunscreen 15 minutes before exposure, then reapply every two hours at least and after each swim. If you are worried that you won’t tan, rest assured, whereas fast tans vanish as quickly as they appeared, those that one acquires gradually are the most beautiful (no ugly desquamations due to sun damage) and are the longest lasting.

One last recommendation on the way to the beach: just because you may have undergone some sunbed sessions does not mean in any way that you can ignore these precautionary measures! Indeed, a sunbed tan is artificial and does not in any way prevent the damage caused by the sun. As to natural tanning, it is there to protect you, certainly, but it does not filter out all the UV rays, far from it.

Did you know?

We often think that deliberate exposure to the sun is the most dangerous for our skin. However, passive exposure to the sun, without the intention of sunbathing (e.g. during outdoor activities) is also a threat. Damage caused by UVB and UVA rays adds up and you should know that:

  • UVA rays are present in the atmosphere, all year round and comprise 95% of UV rays
  • They are active during both cloudy and sunny weather
  • They can go through glass (car windows, plate glass windows)
  • 20 minutes of exposure to UVA rays or a few minutes of UVB rays leads to molecular changes which take 3 days to repair.

Doc: Sun – Dr Cohen Letessier

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