Rain, a ray of hope?

Not many love sunscreens because of the greasy feeling they give our faces

author_img Rachel Dammala Published :  13th July 2022 01:45 PM   |   Published :   |  13th July 2022 01:45 PM
Representative image

Representative image

If you thought using a sunscreen ends with summer, think again. On the occasion of Ultraviolet Safety Month, doctors in the city warn about the dangers of UV rays and share how you can protect your skin and eyes from these harmful rays.

Not many love sunscreens because of the greasy feeling they give our faces. Not to forget the white cast it leaves — even the matte and gel formulae that have crowded the market are yet to find joyful takers. And with the summer setting down on us, many think they (and their skin) can breathe a sigh of relief, but doctors in the city warn against that.On the occasion of Ultraviolet Safety Month, they talk about the dangers and side effects of the little-spoken-about harmful rays on your skin and eyes.

First, we try and understand what these rays are and how they harm us. “Ultraviolet radiation of different wavelength ranges has different effects on the human body. Long-wavelength UV-C is filtered through ozone layers and does not reach the earth. UV-A and UV-B are which penetrate the atmosphere of any season and provoke photosensitivity. Longer wavelengths (UV-A) penetrate deeper into the skin and have multiple effects, notably, DNA damage mutation and cancer. These effects on the skin cause photosensitivity, photo-ageing, sunburn and rarely skin cancers. While cloud cover does offer some protection, significant quantities of UV radiation still reach the earth’s surface,” says Dr M Ramakrishna, consultant physician, at Yashoda Hospital, Malakpet.

Did you know that exposure to UV rays could also reduce immunity levels, and cause cataract and other eye problems? “Pollution, dirt, grime and the harmful UV rays of the sun are the main reasons why your skin is prone to damage during the rainy season. Moreover, many mistake monsoon as a season to skip sunscreen but seldom stop to think that the UVA & UVB rays, which can cause tanning and skin damage, can penetrate through the clouds,” says Dr Suman C, medical director, at Ankura Hospital, Narapally. He advises one to always pick a sunscreen that protects from both UVA & UVB sun rays with SPF 30 or more.

Dr Ramadevi, senior dermatologist at Kamineni Hospitals, says that even though sun rays aren’t visible due to clouds during monsoon, they can penetrate through clouds and cause an increase in melanin production, leading to tanning — either immediate or delayed. “You also begin to see an increase of melasma (brownish pigmentation over nose and cheeks) causing freckles and age spots to appear. They also cause premature ageing, wrinkles and loss of elasticity of the skin. Hence, sunscreen is the safest bet, along with a diet of fruits containing antioxidants,” she adds.

Because the air is denser during the monsoons, the amount of UV rays is lesser, but it does not go away entirely. “These rays can pass through clouds, rain, and fog; in fact, UVA rays can penetrate through window panes. When the sun is out, those who are directly exposed to it run the danger of experiencing adverse health effects. Studies indicate that UV exposure is the highest between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm, so ensure your skin is thouroughly protected around that time,” concludes Ravina Jain, founder-CEO of The Skin Story, Vikrampuri.

Precautions to be taken:
It is important to apply sunscreen all over exposed areas of the body 15-20 min before going out.
Reapply sunscreen every 3 hours.
Pick sunscreen which contains components to protect from both UV A (eg. oxybenzone, avobenzone) and UVB (octanoate, cinoxate) rays.
If your skin is dry, apply moisturiser for nourishing and hydration before applying sunscreen.
Hydrate your skin with plenty of water and have fruits containing antioxidants.
— Dr Ramadevi, dermatologist