Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sun Protection: Face, neck, and hands

I want to turn your attention to a few specific areas on your body where sun exposure is continual. These areas are the face, neck, and hands. They are usually exposed to sunlight all year round, especially if you live in continually warm conditions. In cold weather climates, your body is protected with clothing in the winter and therefore is safe from the sun. But unless your face, neck, and hands are constantly covered up, these areas will still be exposed to UV rays no matter what the climate or time of year.

Although exposing any part of your body to too much UV light is not desirable, it is the face, neck, and hands I am most concerned with here. Remember, sun damage is cumulative from birth. Because your face, neck, and hands are exposed throughout the year (much more so than your body), this tissue is going to show the ravages of sunlight much more quickly than the skin on your body.

The early signs of overexposure include lines and wrinkles, causing the skin to age prematurely; pigmentation spots, sometimes called liver, age, or sun spots; and flaccid tissue, skin that is sagging or has lost its firmness. It is important, therefore, to keep the face, neck, and hands protected throughout the year, minimizing their exposure to the sun. Obstruction (including clothing, hats, and gloves) is best for keeping direct sunlight off the skin, and wearing sunscreen on these areas helps to filter the damaging rays of the sun.

I have always worn “driving gloves” since I was in my early 20s. With my hands up on the steering wheel, I could see how much sun exposure they were getting and I would always hear older people complain about how old their hands looked. When I say driving gloves, these days they are actually work gloves that I have retired and now use exclusively for driving, but any glove that covers the tops of your hands will do. If you decide to wear gloves while you’re driving, don’t choose ones like in this photo. Why not? The very skin you are trying to protect (the tops of the hands) is left unprotected!

In The Forgotten Places: The Neck (link below), I go over some information to help keep the sun off your neck, especially when driving. And I think (I hope!) we all know how to protect our faces in the sun, but the hats article below will give you some ideas as well as a link to another article about how much sun protection your personal hat of choice might be giving you.

Keeping our face, neck, and hands in mind when outside getting sun exposure will help make sure these places are no longer forgotten or neglected when it comes to protecting them from ultra-violet sun rays.

For more information, see:
OK, this is extreme. However it is important to keep
your skin protected from direct sunlight!