Protecting against too much Expo sunshine (2)

14:50, June 08, 2010      

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Getting gradual sun exposure and a light tan can help protect against solar dermatitis and severe sunburn.

Physical protection is best, including umbrellas, hats and long-sleeved clothing.

Sun screen or sun block cream is also important, and Dr Chen suggests using a cream with a physical barrier, rather than a chemical one. The physical barrier can reflect and scatter ultraviolent radiation, while chemical block usually absorbs radiation and releases it in a milder form with less damage to the skin, he says.

Physical barrier creams, such as those containing zinc oxide, may be drying but they are less likely to cause irritation.

Sun block needs time to take effect, and Dr Chen recommends applying to exposed skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors.

Usually SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 is enough for work days when people are indoors for most of the time. SPF is a relative measure of protection. SPF 1 usually indicates 15 minutes of protection, hence SPF 15 is supposed to protect for 225 minutes. SPF 30 is recommended for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. But it's wise to reapply occasionally as perspiration and activity reduce protection.

In case of solar dermatitis or severe sunburn, Dr Chen recommends using green tea compresses for quick relief or applying antibiotic cream.

Source: Shanghai Daily

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