Exposure to the sun’s rays increases the production of the hormone serotonin in the brain, a hormone linked to elevating mood, feeling calm and focused. In addition, exposure to the sun improves our sleep by increasing the production of the hormone melatonin which helps to calm down and enter the night’s sleep. Also, sun exposure can in some cases help treat skin diseases such as psoriasis and reduces itching.
There are also risks: Along with the same positive effects and along with sympathy for the tanned appearance, it is important to remember that cumulative sun exposure causes some health risks like accelerating skin aging processes, pigmentation (spots) in the skin and it increases the incidence of skin cancers mainly BCC, SCC and melanoma.
So that we can continue to enjoy a minimum of damage, get a list of hot do’s and don’ts. There are several ways in which sun exposure can be reduced and the risks reduced.
- Apply sunscreen on a daily basis (even on cloudy days). Always do this, even if you are out on the street and not on the beach. Take care of the areas of exposure – including the scalp, neck, apex ends, chest key, forearms, back of arms and legs. Sunscreen should be applied at least 15 minutes before exposure.
- Use a sunscreen with a protection range of SPF 30 or higher, which covers UVA and UVB radiation. For women, it is recommended to use in addition to the sunscreen also a make-up that contains sunscreens.
- During prolonged exposure to the sun, apply sunscreen every two hours, as well as after leaving the water or after increased sweating.
- It is highly recommended to stay at the beaches or pools until 10:00 in the morning or from 16:00 in the afternoon. If you still arrive at dangerous hours, wear as long clothing as possible, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with lenses that filter out UVA and UVB radiation. It is of course better to stay under an umbrella or shed.
- Particular care should be taken with sun exposure near water or sand that causes the sun’s rays to return from the ground in a way that increases the sun’s radiation and can cause burns.
- Beware of tanning beds, check once a year.
How can you get a tanned look without the dangers along the way?
Self-tanning products can be used, but tanning beds that pose a risk of skin cancer, skin aging, wrinkles and pigmentation as well as sun exposure should be avoided.
Early diagnosis of skin cancer and lesions is essential for optimal treatment. A self-examination of the skin and an annual examination by a dermatologist may detect the disease in a way that can be treated at very early stages. If you have not yet been examined by a dermatologist in the past year, it is advisable to make an appointment as soon as possible.
In addition to the annual mole review, if you have diagnosed a mole that has changed shape, grown, has three or more shades or is bleeding – contact your dermatologist for a check-up soon.
In an age of growing awareness of aesthetics and a healthy lifestyle, it is important to emphasize: prolonged and uncontrolled exposure to the sun causes long-term damage, which adversely affects the appearance of the skin. If you and you want to avoid wrinkles, blemishes and an older appearance in a few years – start being careful of the sun at a young age.
Dr. Gil Tauber, an expert in dermatology and sex and aesthetic medicine, Maccabi Health Services