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The most common myth when it comes to skin damage.

UV index

In virtually every single one of my posts, I talk about ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

What is UV radiation?

Ultraviolet radiation is the invisible light emitted by the sun onto the earth, each and every day.

The World Health Organisation classifies the sun’s ultraviolet rays as a human carcinogen. i.e. they can cause cancer.

UV can also come from artificial sources like sun beds. 

Why should I care?

There has been a marked increase in the incidence of worldwide skin cancer over the past 30 years and this is strongly associated with excessive UV radiation exposure from the sun.

UV can also cause other forms of skin damage such as sunburn, tanning, dark spots, wrinkles, premature ageing and eye damage. 

The UV index

The potency, or strength, of these ultraviolet rays varies throughout the year depending on how close you are to the sun at a given point in time.

For example, in December, the sun is closer to Sydney than it is to Paris. Therefore, in December, the “UV Index”, as it is known, is higher in Sydney than it is in Paris.

There is a UV Index (UVI) scale to reflect all of this.

UV index

The scale serves to advise you on how best to protect yourself depending on the UV index where you are at a given point in time.

The best place to find the UVI where you are on a given day is www.google.com or the iPhone weather app

The values of the index range from 0 to 11. The higher the UVI, the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eyes, and the less time it takes for harm to occur. In extreme UV environments, the recommendation is therefore to stay inside between 10am-4pm and when outside to wear a hat, sunglasses, protective clothing and high sunscreen. 

To bring things to life for you, you can see how the UV index evolves during the year in three randomly selected cities: Sydney, Paris and Mallorca.

What do I do now?

I concede that this is all moderately interesting but what are you supposed to take away from this?

If I could ask you to leave this post with one thing etched permanently into your minds, it’s this…

Think UV. Not heat.

Light from the sun reaches earth every day regardless of temperature. 

That light causes damage to our skin and we usually don’t notice that damage until it’s too late.

The UV level can be as high on a cold or cloudy day as it is when it is a really hot day.

So check the UVI and beware. It’s not about how bright or hot it is, it’s about how strong the UV is where you are.

Too many men only use sunscreen for that one week when they’re at the beach. Too many men would never think about using sunscreen in their own country. Or they might only on very hot days. We know because we’ve asked them. 

Like I say, UV touches your skin every single day. Why do you think women’s make-ups and creams all contain sun protection?

Our suggestion?

It’s precisely because the sun and its UV rays can catch you out that we suggest a daily moisturiser with added sun protection

Now, I just wear sunscreen all year round. Even in London in December for those smart asses thinking about asking.

I don’t do anything different. No extra steps. I just use a daily moisturiser with sun protection added. The one I use so happens to be the one we made (I was scratching an itch after all).

Why be caught off guard? Just protect yourself. Have the right tools in your locker and it really adds no hassle at all. 

Remember guys:

UV. NOT HEAT.  

Thanks for reading.

Sources and further reading
http://www.who.int/uv/intersunprogramme/activities/uv_index/en/
http://www.who.int/uv/intersunprogramme/activities/uv_index/en/index3.html
http://www.cancervic.org.au/preventing-cancer/be-sunsmart

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