How long should you sunbathe on the beach? UNAM issues recommendations

If you plan to go out to the beach and sunbathe this summer vacation, this will interest you, because a UNAM dermatology specialist explains how long it is good to sunbathe and what recommendations to follow to do so safely.

“Taking a little sun, between 10 to 12 minutes, either on a daily basis or when we go on vacation, is considered relatively healthy and safe,” said Rodrigo Roldán Marín, head of the Oncodermatology Clinic of the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

According to the specialist, it is during this period of time that it helps the body to synthesize all the vitamin D necessary to absorb calcium.

However, he warned that “this does not imply walking half-naked around the city”, but that “exposing the back of the hands and the face is more than enough”.

Roldán Marín highlighted that going over the limit of between 10 and 12 minutes in the sun can represent a danger to the health of the skin, and explains why:

“When we go on vacation and want to look for a tan, that is, for the skin to become pigmented or darker, that is definitely not healthy. This pigmentation, the darkening, is a defense mechanism of the skin against the harmful effects of the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun.”

Among the risks that exist due to long exposure to the sun are, according to the expert, sunburns, where the skin becomes red, inflamed and burns, and which can range from redness and burning to the degree of generating blisters.

Regarding these sunburns, the academic said that “the least important thing is the burn, because probably in a week or 12 days it will be resolved when the skin peels off and new skin is generated, and people forget about the problem”.

However, he stressed that “the skin has a memory and those sunburns generate permanent and irreversible damage, which will be noticeable 10, 15, 20 or even 40 years later as spots, wrinkles and, depending on genetics and cumulative sun damage can lead to skin cancer.

The surgeon also pointed out that although for decades tourists have been in the habit of smearing coconut oil, carrot oil, Coca-Cola, or even baby oil to get a better tan, this only causes damage to the skin, since any measure that favors pigmentation and darkening of the skin only accelerates or causes damage.

How to protect yourself from the sun these holidays?

Before leaving for the beach or a sunny place to enjoy the holidays, Roldán Marín recommends:

Use sunblock
Use an eminently mineral sunscreen, either with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide; which must be applied every two or three hours and after swimming or drying with a towel.

The ideal is to use a pharmacy sunscreen, with a minimum protection factor of 30.

Avoid direct exposure
The specialist suggests trying to avoid direct sun exposure between 11 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon, and preferably being in the shade.

Roldán Marín advised exposing yourself to the sun “in the morning or going for a walk on the beach at sunrise or after 5 in the afternoon, at sunset, when the sun is not so intense., does not burn the skin”.

Protective clothing
Clothing is the best sunscreen, said the expert, which is why he recommended wearing long-sleeved clothing and preferably long pants or skirts. The ideal, he added, is to use a natural textile with cotton or linen to avoid excess heat.

It is also suggested to wear dark glasses, as well as a hat with a brim that protects not only the face and nose but also the ears and shoulders.

What to do in case of sunburn?

Rodrigo Roldán Marín indicated that patients who suffer a skin burn should:

  • See a specialist for care
  • Avoid further exposure to the sun
  • Stay under shelter on a roof or shade
  • Staying in a bath or shower with warm or cold water, not hot
  • Moisturize the skin with a white, non-perfumed cream

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