Sun Block Why It Is Important

Suntans are considered the best part of outdoor swimming. And this is why most people presume that if you want a dark hued skin then sun blocks should be avoided like plague. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the life sustaining qualities of sun rays are known to even a second grader, the harshness of these rays and its consequential effect on the skin, especially while swimming, is not common knowledge.

While the need to protect oneself all the time from the ultraviolet rays of the sun is obvious, the danger of overexposure to the sun rises drastically during swimming. Unless you plan to plunge into the waters wearing a complete scuba diving suit, the likelihood of exposed skin is very high while swimming. In fact, those swimming in t-shirts must also know that the UV rays are able to penetrate the fabric of the t-shirt too. Needless to say the more the area of exposed skin, the more the damage. And while it is true that fairer people have more chances of the UV rays affecting them negatively, dark skinned people also need to use sun blocks to protect themselves.

The need to use sun block lotions while swimming arises from the highly harsh nature of the sun's ultra violet rays. UV rays penetrate the top layer of the skin causing the DNA of the epidermis to burn, resulting in the tanned look that the skin develops when exposed to the sun rays. Apart from overexposure leading to serious ailments like skin cancer, cataract and, of course, photosensitivity rashes, it also rapidly hasten the aging process of the skin rather rapidly. Thus rises the need to protect the skin from these harsh rays and while swimming this need doubles itself. This is because water reflects extra sun rays and higher proportion of exposed skin that is obvious during an activity like swimming.

Even hard core swimmers often believe that sun rays do not damage the skin that remains underwater. Once more this is not true. The sun's harsh rays are able to easily penetrate the water and therefore it is very important to apply sun blocks all over the body while swimming. Make sure that the lotion is reapplied after every two to three hours since the effect wears out with time. Always choose a sun block lotion that is water proof so that it is not easily washed away by the chorine water of the pool. What's more is that the SPF (sun protection factor) of the sun block lotion must be at least over 35 for the lotion to be effective. Before applying any new brand of sun block always do a small patch test to ensure that your skin does not react with the brand. Do not apply sun blocks near the eyes since they contain chemicals that could cause intense burning.

So, it might be better to use a sun block than go overboard trying to get that tanned look. Since no matter how perfect your tan is, a wrinkled and aging face will take away from it completely.

(A word of caution, though it is true that 25 % of a persons skin exposure to UV rays occurs in childhood, sun blocks should never be used on infants below the age of 6 months.)


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