The use of sunscreen has been a popular topic in the world of skincare for many years. Sunscreen is simply a product that is designed to protect our skin from the harmful effects of the sun. These effects can manifest in different ways; from sunburns to skin cancer. The most active ingredient in sunscreen is a compound called zinc oxide, which is known to absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The significance of sunscreen usage cannot be overemphasized, especially in Africa, where the incidence of skin cancer is on the rise. This write up explores the importance of sunscreen, different categories of age groups, and Africa.
Sunscreen Usage and Importance
Sunscreen usage is imperative because it protects the skin against various damages caused by the sun. Sun rays contain two types of UV radiation; Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). Excessive exposure to these rays can have adverse effects on the skin, ranging from sunburn to skin cancer.
Sunburn occurs when the skin is exposed to the sun without any form of protection such as sunscreen. Sunburn is characterized by redness, swelling, and peeling. While sunburn is a temporary condition, prolonged exposure to the sun without sunscreen could lead to skin cancer. Skin cancer accounts for one-third of all cancers, with over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year.
The use of sunscreen helps to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer. The active ingredients in the sunscreen block UV rays, limiting the damage they can do to the skin. Additionally, sunscreen helps to keep the skin moisturized by reducing the loss of water through the skin. This can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, making the skin look younger and healthier.
Age Groups and Sunscreen
Different age groups require different types of sunscreens. For instance, children require a different type of sunscreen from adults, and the same applies to the elderly. Sunscreen usage is essential when it comes to protecting children’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays since their skin is more delicate and sensitive than that of adults.
Children’s skin is delicate and vulnerable, making them more susceptible to sun damage. As a result, children require a sunscreen that is gentle on their skin and provides a high level of protection. Sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are often recommended for children since they provide excellent protection without irritating their skin. Additionally, children should always wear protective clothing and hats when playing outdoors, especially during peak sun hours between 10 am and 4 pm.
Adults require a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. They should choose a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 or higher. Additionally, adults should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
The elderly have thinner skin, making them more susceptible to sun damage. They require a sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection, is fragrance-free and gentle on their skin. Sunscreens that contain antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and E, can help to protect against further skin damage.
Africa and Sunscreen Usage
Africa is known for having sunny weather, making sunscreen usage essential. However, the use of sunscreen in Africa is relatively low compared to other regions of the world. The lack of awareness about the benefits of sunscreen is one of the major factors contributing to this low usage rate.
The incidence of skin cancer is increasing in Africa, particularly among light-skinned individuals. This is because people with lighter skin have less melanin, making them more susceptible to UV damage. Additionally, people with albinism are particularly vulnerable to skin cancer, making sunscreen usage crucial for them.
The low usage of sunscreen in Africa is partly due to the high cost of sunscreen in some regions. However, some organizations have been working to provide free sunscreen to communities in Africa to combat this issue. Such organizations encourage people to use sunscreen regularly and provide guidance on how to apply it effectively. Luckily, here at Arah we ensure that our skincare products are packed full with antioxidant protection against UV-induced photo-damage.
In conclusion, sunscreen usage is essential for protecting the skin from the harmful effects of the sun, ranging from sunburn to skin cancer. Different age groups require different types of sunscreen, with children requiring a gentler formulation. The use of sunscreen in Africa is still low, but efforts are being made to increase awareness and make sunscreen more accessible. Sunscreen should form an integral part of our skincare routine to keep our skin healthy and younger-looking.
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