Protect yourself from the summer sun

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By Dr. Victor Dumaguing

To Your Health

Friday, May 2, 2014


SUNRAYS are good, healthy and beneficial during the first few hours of the day. In countries near the equator where there is a 6am to 6 pm day-to-night pattern of light and darkness, bringing infants and yound children, and adults, would bring about activation of the inactive form of vitamin D, 7-dehydrocholesterol in the stratum granulosum of our ski , to vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol. My pedia-friends suggest 30 minutes exposure from 6-8 am, on a good weather, sunny day would suffice. It is also emphasized that, exposure should be in an open air, not shielded by windows, even if it has clear glass. in order to achieve the chemical activation of the vitamin D.
Everybody now is aware that the undesirable sunrays occur from 10-3pm in the afternoon,. Admittedly, this is also the time when swimming - whether in the beach or in the river- is most exciting, to say the least- with the sun warming the body against the coldness of the water. Thus, if you are a sunworshipper or a regular beachcomber, it would be wise to take some precaution and protection.

Sunprotection comes in many forms. Sunscreens of various formulations come with different SPF- sunprotection factor, which gives us an idea how long a person may stay under the sun, before the harmful effects occur. According to dermatologists, the Filipino being a scion of the Malay race or brown race, has more melanin- the most common pigment found in the skin of people all over the world- may have SPF 15, the most commonly used in sunscreen. Remember that the lighter is the color of one's skin, the higher should be the SPF. Thus, extrapolating the data, our brethrens in subSaharan Africa and all the mullatos - hybrid race mixed with black- may settle for a sunscreen with a lower SPF because they have more of the protective, skin protector melanin.

Most sunscreens contain the ingredient Avobenzone and Oxybenzone.

Avobenzone is one of the world's powerful Ultraviolet A absorber, although it is quite unstable. Oxybenzone on the other hand, is a stable, efficient ultraviolet Beta ray absorber. No wonder, most sunscreeens have combined the two for a wider, broader , more photostable, hence better UV rays protection.

Of course, do not forget the more practical aspects of skin protection. A wide-brimmed buntal hat, would cover most of the face and neck and at the same time, provide aeration or enough air for the scalp and hair. Avoid hats or caps with tight garters as they lessen blood supply to the head.

Re-apply sunscreens every two hours especially on a really hot, scorching day. Take note that even if you are under a beach umbrella, the sand, the sea water are able to deflect sunrays to you. If you decide to get a healthy tan, apply the tanning lotion first, then cover it with sunscreen.

The retina of the eyes is most sensitive to ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Cover or protect them with ophthalmologist-approved, Ultra-violet-protected sunglasses. It is said that the eyes are the windows of the soul.

They deserve good quality sunglasses, preferably with green and brown shades. And of course, all that water you can drink. Have fun with the sun!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 03, 2014.

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