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Friday, April 19, 2019

Dumaguing: Skin summer love affair

YES dear readers, you are reading it right. Although for sure, a lot of eyebrows are raised because conventional knowledge is that for the most part, summer is not a friend, actually more of an enemy of the skin. As scientifically measured by geniuses in physics -- astrophysics -- the distance of the sun from Earth is about 150 million kilometers and from that far point of the universe, the sun rays pass through the five layers of the atmosphere -- exosphere, thermosphere, mesosphere, stratosphere and troposphere; where most of the harmful rays are deflected by the ozone layer at the stratosphere so that the solar rays humans living in the surface of the earth are visible light, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays and a few x-rays.

The human eye, with its receptors rods for night vision and cones for bright daylight as well as color vision, can only recognize certain colors in the spectrum; red with the longest wavelength up to violet with the shortest wavelength.

Invisible to the eye are infrared rays -- longer than the red and ultraviolet rays, shorter than the violet. UVA or ultraviolet alpha are the drying, wrinkle-forming and sagging-skin-forming rays, while the UVB or ultra violet beta are deeply penetrating so much so that it may cause some derangement in the deepest layer of the epidermis called stratum germinativum, which may lead to a very deadly form of skin c cancer called melanoma.

Fortunately, the highly destructive and harmful UVC or ultra violet gamma rays are bounced off by our ozone layer thus. Very little reaches the earth's surface.

Dermatologist and even your family physician are all agreed on the use of sunscreens or sunblock to protect your body, not just your skin from the harmful and ageing effects of solar rays. The SPF or sun protection factor is a measure on how safely/ how long a person can stay until the sun.

According to Dra. Purita Chan-Noble, one of foremost board-certified skin specialists in Baguio, SPF is the dose of UV rays required to produce minimal erythema-redness-dose (MED). For example, an SPF of 30 means a person can stay 30 times longer under the sun before MED appears as compared if the skin is unprotected. From this data, the higher the SPF, the better because the person can stay longer under the sun? Well, yes and no. Yes, because of the extended period of stay under the sun; No because even your own dermatologist will tell you to stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the scorching heat of the sun is beating on back of earthlings. Another very sensible caution your columnist got from the amiable Dra. Puree is that, sunblock must be re-applied every now and then especially for sun-worshippers.

Another eye-opener is the reality that the sand, the water can reflect ultraviolet rays even to someone who's resting under the shade of a big beach umbrella, thus, sunscreens must also be applied even you are just there to enjoy the sea breeze while reading your favorite book. And for some skeptics and cynics, they too must give up their stubbornness and obey what skin specialist says: apply sunscreen even on a seemingly gloomy cloudy day, because above is still the sun.

Then for a complete summer package, how about a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses -- brown and green dark tint are preferred for retinal protection, loose light colored apparel and please don't forget your 8-10 glasses of water. Have fun, enjoy, take care.
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