unicaArticol publicat in "UNICA"

unica- Iul. 1999 -

The sun – friend or foe?
by Bianca Brad

We’re all more relaxed and happy in summer. While the sun has a beneficial action on our psychic, I cannot say the same about skin and hair, which are going to suffer. The sunbathing time arrives and everybody rushes to the long chairs and wants to get tanned as soon as possible. It’s true that tanned skin looks nice, but there’s a risk not to neglect. They speak about the ozone layer problems and the danger the sun can be. And it’s not only about skin cancer. They already proved that excess tanning leads to early skin ageing.

But how and why do we get tanned? Melanin is a pigment produced by the skin cells when the sunrays touch the skin. This pigmentation (tanning) process is nothing else but an attempt by the body to protect itself! From the moment when the body receives the signal “Attention! Sun! We need melanin!” to the answer “Melanin released!”, it takes too much and meanwhile the skin suffered a lot and burned. The most sensitive skin is the lips. The lips skin cannot produce melanin so that the lips could protect themselves. Many people forget or don’t know that they should protect their lips by applying a special lip balm that contains UV filters. I don’t want to frighten you (or should I?), but the incidence of skin and lip cancer has increased a lot, so please protect your skin as much as possible. Apply protective creams even when you know you’re going to go for a walk in the sun or sit on the porch. Don’t forget the children, whose skin is even more sensitive.

At Hollywood, stars like Faye Dunaway or Kim Basinger don’t go into the sun; they rather prefer white, but healthy skin to the tanned skin. Here are some rules to follow if you want to avoid wrinkles and burns:

- Always apply the protective lotion or cream before going to the sunbath (some 30 minutes before). Even if you want to get a nice color in a short time, it’s healthier and the tan will last longer when exposing gradually to the sun.

- Don’t stay in the sun between 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. as the sunrays are dangerous. Stay in the shadow, like in the Australian saying Sleep under a tree between eleven and three.

- Use from the beginning creams with a high protection factor. You’ll get tanned even so, believe me! Then, gradually turn to creams with a lower protection factor. Know and respect your skin type. Don’t try to get a mulatto color when you have a white skin, because first this is impossible and then, you risk tampering with your protection mechanism.

- Pay a particular attention to the sensitive areas: lips, nose, eyelids, shoulders, the areas behind the knees and foot bottoms – in case you never thought of creaming them, do it, because they are very sensitive.

- You also must protect your hair because it’s attacked not only by the UV rays, but also by the chlorine or sea in the water. Use special creams or sprays that contain ceramids or vitamin E.

- Use UV-protection sunglasses to protect the retina and avoid wrinkles.

- When going into water, use water-resistant (waterproof) lotions.

- After a sunbathing day, when we are proud we got color, it’s time to pay the skin (for which tanning is suffering!) a particular attention.

You feel like skin shrinking or have a dry skin? No wonder. Because of the UV rays, heat, sea breeze and water, the skin gets dehydrated. Therefore, the skin revolts and, while trying to regenerate itself, it gets rid of the upper (burnt) layer as fast as possible. If you want to keep the tan for a longer time and have the skin not degraded, keep in mind the following hints:

- After the sunbath, have a warm water shower and afterwards apply a special, hydrating after-sun lotion. Ideally, it should be a lotion that contains the vitamin E complex (called the beauty vitamin), calcium and magnesium. They calm down the skin and help the cells regenerate. The sensitive persons may use a lotion without perfume, emulsifier, preservatives, and dyes.

- Darker spots may appear, sometimes because of the birth-control pills. In this case, use anti-spot creams or cover those areas with natural lemon lime.

- The eyes are very sensitive and the risk to get wrinkles is very high. For this reason, use a hydrating cream or a special eye gel. Hint: apply black tea sachets on the eye, instead of pledgets.

- Another sensitive area: neck and breast. Apply a thick layer of cream, wait for 30 minutes and remove the excess using a cosmetic napkin.

- It may happen that, because of the heat, some small vessels break so that the cheeks and nose get red (cuperosa). Give up the face wash – it contains alcohol – and apply pledgets.

If you don’t want to risk by exposing to sun, but you want to get tanned, you may use self-bronze creams. Apply them in the evening, after the shower, before going to bed. After that, wash your hands thoroughly. These creams are inoffensive and their effect vanishes in 3-4 days.

The conclusion? If you want to enjoy the sun, protect your skin.
I wish you a nice summer, be beautiful and especially healthy!