Summer and your skin

Dr. Victor Dumaguing

A POEM goes "if winter comes, can spring be far behind?" In the same breath, we can say that that if March comes marching in, can summer be far behind? Indeed, dear readers, the north easterlies are blowing less and less except in the dawn hours, and Baguio folks are now experiencing the warmer air of the easterlies from the Pacific. Our beloved City of Pines, being at an altitude of 4500 plus feet above sea level, is obviously more at the mercy of the scorching heat of the summer sun.

The skin is the single largest organ of the body. It has various functions among which is protection; against microbes and against the solar rays of the sun.

UVA or ultraviolet rays alpha are the drying, wrinkle forming rays, the UVB or ultraviolet beta rays are deeply penetrating and there is the UVC or ultraviolet gamma rays which are extremely destructive and harmful.

Several kilometers above the surface of our Earth is the ozone layer- layer of O3 which has the ability to filter sunrays allowing only the UVA and UVB to pass through and to deflect or bounce back into outer space the UV gamma rays.

The sad news, along with the disturbing reality of the so-called increase of l.5-2 degrees Celsius in our atmosphere, is the fact that there is already a hole in the ozone layer in different parts of the globe, with a part of Canada in the Northern hemisphere and Chile in the Southern hemisphere.

This tear in the ozone layer is due to the use of the CFC-chlorofluorohydrocarbons- common in air conditioners, refrigerators and even aerosolized gadgets- at the turn of the century.

Fortunately, the use of this CFCs has been curbed, by a policy adhered to by countries all over the world, thus the newer refrigerators proudly stick to their doors, CFC free. Same thing with cars and other motor vehicles.

Dermatologists and even your friendly family physician all agreed on the use of sunblocks or sunscreens to protect your body from the damaging as well as the ageing effects of the sun. SPF is sun protection factor is a measure of how long a person can stay under the sun.

Example, a sunscreen with SFP of 15 means, 15 multiplied by 10 means 150 minutes under the sun. Thus, the higher the SPF, the longer and the better the sunblock does its purported function. Obviously, if you are a beachcomber or a sun worshipper, it makes sense that you have to re-apply sunscreen every now and then, depending how long you desire to stay under the sun.

The eyes need special mention. The retina or the innermost layer and most delicate part of the eye needs protection from all those sunrays. Get yourself a good-quality sunglass from an optical shop or recommended by your ophthalmologist, which admittedly might be pricey, but look, the beauty of the world depends on how clear you see the colors of the flowers and the azure blue of the sea. Be practical and dodge the flamboyant colors of pink, yellow or blue; to ban the rays of the sun, green and brown tinted sunglasses are ideal.

A wide brimmed hat is a necessity, so is an umbrella- real men carry umbrellas- and if you had a choice, avoid going out into the open from 10 am to 3 pm, and don’t forget what our moms always advise- 8-10 glasses of water, good for your kidneys and a healthy glowing skin.

Welcome summer!