Is Your Skin Protected This Winter.
Tuesday, May 19th 2009
If your part of the group of New Zealanders who head for the sea or mountains in the colder months, we hope you have given consideration for one of the most important parts of your body Your skin!
The intensity of our sun is well feared, as we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world - with approximately 200 New Zealanders dieing from melanoma each year. One of the reasons for this is our proximity to the ozone hole, which forms over Antarctica each year, when clouds develop in the stratosphere and react with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to remove the ozone, which normally blocks ultraviolet radiation (UV).
The longer the hole remains over Antarctica, the more likely it is that ozone-depleted air will reach New Zealand, increasing the risk of dangerously high levels of UV radiation, while people are outside enjoying themselves. UV radiation is responsible for promoting skin damage and skin cancers.
There are a number of ways to help to protect yourself from the damaging effects of UV rays. These include:
Wearing suitable clothing to ensure your body is well covered. If you have to be out in the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 4pm), wear protective clothing. This includes proper UV protective sunglasses, a hat (protect that brain!) and sun proof clothing. You want to be well covered from head to toe and apply a large amount of sunscreen to any piece of your body that is exposed. I always chuckle to myself when I remember being bought up calling it sun tan lotion, not sun screen! Funny how times change!
It's important to remember that the UV rays are still penetrating through the cloud layer on an overcast day, so be sun smart even if it doesn't seem like there is any sun around.
On the sun exposed areas of your body, wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. With most sunscreens, it's important to apply them before you're in the sun. They need to be applied liberally, and reapplied at least every two hours after sweating, swimming or towelling off.
Sunscreens are rated by an SPF (Sun Protective Factor) number, which is a multiplier of your skin's exposure time before burning. For example, an SPF of 4 means you can stay in the sun four times longer before burning, than if you were wearing no sunscreen at all. Keep in mind that you can't add SPF numbers. If an SPF 4 product gives you an hour in the sun, reapplying won't give you another hour. Your time's up!. If you want longer exposure, next time use a higher SPF before going outside.
The effects of the sun on our skin can be life altering. Only more recently has it been realised that most of the visible damage to the skin is done by years of exposure to UV rays which destroy the elastic fibres that keep health skin taut and supple. People who have pursued that fresh young looking golden tan are discovering that years of sun bathing has left them with wrinkled, sagging skin. In fact, 80% of visible skin aging is caused by sun exposure & most of us get half our lifetime exposure to sun before we've even reached 18 yrs of age.
If you have suffered from Sun damage, consider these suggestions to help your body recover faster
Take Vitamin C, with one of its primary functions in the body being to maintain collagen levels & promote healing. Collagen is a protein necessary for the formation of connective tissue in the skin, ligaments and bones.
Essential fatty acids are vital, as they are key structural components of our cell walls and give our skin its smoothness and suppleness. They also help prevent water loss from the skin. As water is lost, the skin becomes dry, rough and loses its firmness. Insufficient intake of these, which often occurs when we reduce our fat intake, results in loss of skin elasticity and dryness and increases our susceptibility to premature ageing.
Protein provides amino acids, which supply the raw materials for maintaining the genetic code (DNA), repairing damaged muscle tissue, for cell division, making enzymes, building new connective tissue and making hormones and neurotransmitters. Protein comes from all animal products, nuts & seeds & soy products.
Externally, a combination of aloe vera gel, colloidal silver and lavender essential oil can help to heal the skin faster, help prevent infection and help kill pain.
Be safe when out doors. In all cases of sun burn or over exposure to the sun, seek professional advice.
The following are all usefull for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails:
Amino Collagen Complex
Collagen & Keratin Capsules
Divine Face Oil
QSilica Gel 500ml
Collagen + C Pomegranate
Soleo Organics Sunscreen
Super Calcium Complete
Zinc 120 tabs
Related health information can be found here:
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If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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