An affordable sunscreen with a rating of at least SPF 50+ is better for those with dark skin tones.

Mitigating Climate Change Impacts Using Sunscreen

As climate change continues to worsen, the negative effects that it has on one’s health should be paid attention to.

Despite the fact that the weather is constantly rainy in Abuja nowadays, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have our fair share of sun.

Humans require a certain level of vitamin D from the sun so that our bones don’t weaken and crumble like a wet newspaper but it isn’t really advisable for someone to stay under the sun for long periods of time without the proper protection.

I’m not saying that staying under the sun is a bad thing.

It is a vital component of the health and mental well-being of human beings.

That being said, an excess of sunlight is just as bad as little to no sunlight.

The damage that occurs in humans is due to Ultraviolet(UV) radiation from the sun and can be something minor such as sunburn to something more damaging like skin cancer.

In order to prevent this, sunscreen was invented.

If you do not know what it is, sunscreen is a protective topical product for the skin which absorbs and reflects, to a lesser degree, some of the ultraviolet rays from the sun. It helps protect the skin against sunburns and aids in preventing skin cancers.

Continuous use of sunscreen can either slow down or temporarily prevent the progression of sagging skin, wrinkles, and dark spots.

However, wearing sunscreen does not mean that staying under the sun for long periods of time is advisable.

Sunscreen comes in many forms such as lotions, foams, creams, gels, lip balms, sprays, powders, sticks, etc.

It is also a common supplement to protective clothing like sunhats, umbrellas, sunglasses, and special sun protective attire.

Sunscreen should also be worn on cold, cloudy days.

Sunscreen was invented in 1932 by a chemist named H.A. Milton Blake and was verified by the University of Adelaide.

Although sunscreen is a somewhat recent invention, sun protection practices have been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians, maybe even further.

Sunscreen has 2 classifications: mineral/physical sunscreens and chemical/petrochemical sunscreens.

Contrary to what most people believe, both types of sunscreens perform their duties through the absorption of UVA light rather than reflecting or scattering it.

If you have seen sunscreen before, you have most likely noticed the words SPF on it.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a rating that lets you know how much protection the product provides against sunburn.

The higher the SPF number, the greater the protection.

A good starting point for someone who is not sure what kind of sunscreen they would prefer is sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. SPF products with a rating of 30 provide a high level of protection against sunburn.

Personally, I am of the opinion that SPF products with a rating of at least 50 have good benefits compared to those with a lower rating.

There are many benefits to your skin that will occur from consistently using sunscreen some of which are:

• Constant use of sunscreen can help in preventing Melanoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma which are two types of skin cancer.

• People with sun sensitivity can have minimised risk of UV damage when using sunscreen.

• Sunscreen reduces aging as a lack of sun protection will damage the collagen in your skin.

• It reduces sunburn which can also increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

• UV rays from the sun can cause damage to the blood vessels in the skin which causes them to bleed and have a bruised or bleeding appearance.

Although sunscreen has good benefits, it can also have side effects, some of which can be quite severe.

If you are going to see a pharmacist or dermatologist and you are allergic to aminobenzoic acid, benzocaine, tetracaine, or Sulfa drugs, inform them immediately and they will provide alternative sunscreen that won’t cause harm to your body.

If your doctor has prescribed a sunscreen for you, they are most likely aware of any sort of drug interactions and could be monitoring how you are reacting to it.

In a few decades, maybe even a few years, using sunscreen will become a common and daily thing, especially for people living in the more tropical places on earth.

Climate change is causing a lot of damage not only to the earth but to our bodies as well.

As we fix the damage that is being caused to our ecosystems, let’s also fix and prevent the damage that is being done to our bodies.

Aishat M. Abisola is a member of the Society for Health Communication
Wuye District, Abuja
[email protected]

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