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Why It Is Important to Protect Your Skin from the Sun? While snorkeling is a fun activity, it is important to do so safely and not allow your skin to be exposed to the damaging rays of the sun. Many new snorkeling enthusiasts have ended the day with pretty painful sunburn, especially on the back of your legs. Consistent exposure to the sun does not only change the appearance of your skin; it can also result in mild and severe skin problems. Here are a number of reasons why you should protect your skin from the sun.

Suncreen is a serious threat to coral reefs around the world and here in Ballito too. Please be sure to read our article, Suncreen & Coral, a bad combo.

Premature Aging

Many people have the misconception that a glowing, tanned complexion is indicative of good health. Actually, skin color that results from exposure to the sun is a sign of accelerated skin aging. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause skin fibers called elastin to breakdown, making the skin more saggy and stretchy, and less resistant to bruising and tearing. Some of the visible aging effects of the sun include dry skin, wrinkles, freckles, and age spots.

Skin Cancer
Constant sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, ultraviolet rays from the sun are responsible for 86 percent of melanoma cases and 90 percent of non-melanoma cases. While melanoma is not a common type of skin cancer, it is the deadliest. Most of the damage caused by the sun occurs before the age of 18, but it may take more than 20 years for skin cancer to develop. People who have experienced severe sunburns, whether as adults or children, are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun?
When you are snorkeling, you can take some protective measures to reduce the harmful effects of sun exposure, such as using a rash vest, applying sunscreen, using a moisturizer, and wearing sun protective swimwear. To ensure that you have adequate protection, it is advisable that you use a sunscreen with an SPF value of 30. The Skin Cancer Foundation reported that people who apply sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher on a daily basis show about 24 percent less aging effects on their skin than those who do not.

Use Sunscreen in Moderation for Environmental Reasons
While sunscreen can protect your skin, you have to aware of its possible negative impact on the environment. It has been discovered that the chemical oxybenzone found in many sunscreen products can lead to the damage and even death of corals. You can do your part in protecting the precious marine environment by using eco-friendlier sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone. Sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide are known to be much less harmful to reefs than those with oxybenzone. The best thing to do, however, is to use an organic sunscreen.

While it is true that exposure to the sun can be harmful to your skin, you should not be deterred from pursuing your passion for snorkeling. Now that you know how to protect your skin from the sun, you can indulge in your favorite activity while keeping your skin young and healthy....beware of the back of those legs!

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