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UV RAYS: The harm and ways to prevent it

For starters, what exactly is UV? Ultraviolet (UV) is an electromagnetic radiation, a type of energy produced by the sun. Although only making up a small portion of the sun rays and, it is the major culprit of damaging our skin and its cells.

Grouped into three different types of rays, UVA, UVB and UVC, each of these rays bring different threats to the human race. UVC, the deadliest among the three, thankfully has the inability to penetrate the earth’s ozone layer hence unable to get under our skin. However, UVA and UVB are still able to pass through, making our skin vulnerable if stayed under the sun for a prolonged time.  

UV rays impacts us in many ways. Even though it does benefit us in some ways, our body is a victim to the threats it possess. The short term effect of being overexposed to them is getting sunburnt and tanned. In the longer run though, our skin sees the effects evidently ̶   early aging skin, wrinkles, skin loss, dark patches. These rays supress our skin’s immune system and even takes a toll on our eyes, raising the risk of having cataracts.

The downside of being in Singapore is having a higher risk of being exposed to these harmful rays as the rays travels a shorter distance to the equator than countries that are further away from the equator. This raises the chance of us having damaged skin, leading to the formation of freckles, sunburn and risk of skin cancer as the DNA of the genes that controls skin cell growth is affected with this exposure.

Prevention is key

There are many prevention methods that should be taken to lessen the risk of absorbing these rays. By doing so, our bodies will thank us in the long run. Here are 5 ways to help you avoid getting UV rays into your body.

1. Afternoon sun

Yes, having the afternoon sun rays beat down your back on a lovely day at the beach can feel great and amazing but they are the most harmful ones. To protect yourself from getting burnt from UV rays, avoid going under the sun between 12pm-4pm as they are its highest at this time of the day. Limit your sun intake during those hours by seeking shade to allow yourself a healthier skin in the long run. 

2. oversized hats

Don hats that have an extra radius of at least 3 inches all around. The additional inches help to shield your face from the rays, giving you a 360-degree protection from the sun. This provides you optimal coverage as it ward off the harmful rays from your face, especially the skin around your eyes, which is extremely thin. Let’s bring back the floppy hat trend, both trendy and practical.

3. UV Protected shades

Alongside oversized hats, shades are a good protection measure against UV rays. As mentioned above, the skin around the eyes are thin. This makes it more delicate and prone to having the effects of UV rays show up clearer over the years.

Almost everyone owns a pair of shades but not everyone has one that is equipped with UV protection. Own a pair of large-framed sunglasses that blocks UVA/UVB rays. The big frames would give extra coverage to the soft tissue around your eyes.

This wide framed eyewear comes with 100% UV protection and also has an anti-reflective coating and scratch-resistant treatment. Having a pair of sunglasses in your bag everyday would be beneficial in shielding the rays out, rain or shine as the rays are just as potent on a cloudy day as it is on a sunny day.

4. food

Believe it or not, certain food actually helps. Food packed with antioxidants help protect skin from sunburns and long-term sun damage. Increase your skin’s resistance by eating food like tomatoes and watermelon. They contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant in protecting the skin from UV damage from sunburns. This antioxidant minimises inflammatory response to UV damage by neutralising free radicals which forms after taking in too much sun.  

5. Sunscreen

This must be the most popular prevention that everyone knows of – sunscreen. Getting a sunscreen with SPF 30 and above is usually recommended as it blocks the rays from entering the skin more efficiently. With NOVU’s Active Range Lifting Sunscreen Mist, this waterproofed SPF 50 PA ++++ goodness will protect you from the harmful rays and allows deep absorption to last longer even in high UV conditions.

Using this SPF 50 sunscreen will help fend off 98% of UVB rays compared to not applying any sunscreen.  Additionally, it improves elasticity and fights photo-aging as well. Spritz 1-2 pumps per area, spreading evenly 15 minutes before going under the sun and reapplying every 2 hours thereafter.

Although being able to bring in some positive light such as providing vitamin D and “killing” viruses and bacteria, UV rays are still relatively unsafe. With its cons outweighing the pros, using the prevention methods is a safer choice in minimising the amount of UV intake into our body. This will definitely pay off in the long run, with your skin looking younger than you really are.

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