Risk of skin cancer does not stop suntan addicts

The majority of people sunbathe because of the popular opinion that tanned people look healthy and beautiful

Experts state that addiction to sunbathing can be comparable to the permanent wish for alcohol or even drugs. And this is the reason why there are so many people sunbathe in spite of the skin cancer risk.

The University of Texas conducted a special research on the matter, having polled 145 people on the beaches of the Galveston Island. The questions very much resembled the ones which were asked to find out people's addiction to alcohol. The questioning revealed that 26 – 58 percent of the respondents may be called UV addicted.

Dermatology Professor at the medical department of the Texas University in Galveston, Richard Wagner (the leader of the research), says that the majority of beach-goers are aware of the fact that they are running the risk of skin cancer as they expose their bodies to hot sun rays. Similarly, smokers do not give up smoking in the face of lung cancer risk. 

It is highly likely that sunbathing makes people addicted because sunrays stimulate the production of endorphin or the hormone of happiness in the organism. However, there is still no scientific proof of the statement. 

Doctor Lesley Christenson, who has recently conducted a research to find out the instance of skin cancer has considerably increased among people under 40, says that “previous researches showed that sunbathing helped people to relieve tension. But the majority of people sunbathe because of the popular opinion that tanned people look healthy and beautiful.”

Doctors give several important recommendations for those who want to have healthy and safe sunbathing. It is important to take the course of beta-carotene and vitamin A food additives a month before a vacation. Daily meals should contain enough vitamin C, B12 and PP vitamins. These components make the protective upper layer of skin and hair stronger. They also stimulate the activity of sebaceous glands to provide the best natural protection of skin while sunbathing.

Do not use soap or perfume before sunbathing not to make skin too susceptible to the sun; sunbathing creams and lotions are mandatory. Make sure that you are not allergic to this or that particular sunbathing cream.

Remember that cosmetics with UV-filters must be applied 30 minutes before sunbathing to make it really effective. It is important that suntan creams must not be too rich, as too rich creams in hot weather are recommended for dry skin only. Apply special sun protecting lip balms to protect the thin skin on the lips. Decorative lipsticks may also contain UV-filters for protection while sunbathing.

The thickness of skin and the ability of epidermis cells to produce pigmentation influence self-protection of skin from sunrays. Areas too open to sunrays – nose, cheekbones, chin and eyelids – need special protection from the sun. Oils for sunbathing are recommended only for those people whose skin is already tanned enough. These oils as a rule have small UV-protection factor.

While sunbathing, put on a hat and sunglasses, otherwise sunbathing will add more wrinkles and make hair dry. Do not apply decorative cosmetics. Everyday face foundations do not protect the face skin from sunrays as many women believe.

Apply sun protective creams even after swimming if they are not waterproof. Waterproof sun protective creams are more convenient and environment friendly. It is recommended to move – swim, make exercises and play ball – while staying on the beach, as movement makes blood circulation better and improves skin metabolism. As a result, skin tans faster, and the tan gets even. Doctors recommend taking safe sunbathing before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. They emphasize that even young and healthy people should stay for not more than 1.5-2 hours a day in the open sun.

Cotton clothes allow just about 6 percent of sunrays reach the skin, while synthetic fibers filter even less sunrays and let 20-50 percent of them reach the skin. Even being half a meter under water, the skin absorbs 60 per cent of the sun radiation. Increase the sun doze by 20 per cent every day to avert skin burning. In case of a skin burn, stay in the shadow within 2-3 days. To avoid too heavy sweating drink mineral water on the beach.

Never use body and facial scrubs after sunbathing not to damage the upper skin layer protecting it from the sun. Tone the skin with non-alcohol toners only to keep the skin balance normal. It is recommended to use cosmetics meant especially for after-sunbathing periods, as it contains moisturizing and soothing components essential for the sin after sunbathing. Creams and toners for sensitive skin will also do in this case. Wash the face with slightly cold water and then apply moisturizing mask or cream.

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Author`s name Olga Savka