Sun Protection For Vitiligo: Essential Tips For Preventing Skin Damage

Sun Protection For Vitiligo: Essential Tips For Preventing Skin Damage

Vitiligo and the sun don't exactly go well together. The ray of sunshine can hurt your vitiligo skin with burns and irritations. But don't worry, there are ways to enjoy the outdoors on your terms!

A broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more is the best defence against the sun and you apply it liberally to all exposed skin. Covering up with protective clothing and accessories is also a great way to fight off the harsh sunbeam. 

So, join us to know how you can build a healthy relationship with the sun. 

What Can The Sun Do To Your Vitiligo Skin?

Melanin, a pigment responsible for skin colour, functions as a shield to protect you from sun damage. But, the absence of melanin in your vitiligo patches makes them more sensitive to sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburns. 

Sunburns can irritate vitiligo and make the light patches stand out more. Please watch out for the delicate skin in the eyelids, nose, neck and backs of your hands. They are more vulnerable and need extra safety. 

And, there is also this phenomenon called the Koebner effect to cause additional problems. This effect means the areas that have experienced trauma or inflammation can trigger the formation of new vitiligo patches. Sunburns are a form of irritation, so you can see where this is going.

We totally understand your challenges due to the sun. But chin up, dear friend, you can care for your beautiful vitiligo skin with many protective measures!

How Can You Shield Your Skin?

  • Sun-Safe Styling 

It is important to know that you should cover a large portion of your skin when venturing outside. And, smart clothing choices let you look good and feel good while staying protected. Well, as there is a stylish way to beat the burn, you have to make the most use of it. 

Long sleeves and pants are good sun-style staples. Look for clothing with the tighter weaves as they offer more coverage from the sun's harsh rays, compared to the looser weaves. Denim, wool and synthetic fibres can help.

While a white shirt might be tempting, reach for clothing with dark colours like dark blue, and black for enhanced protection as they absorb the UV (Ultraviolet) rays rather than letting them penetrate.

Oh, you can throw on a wide-brimmed hat that goes with your outfit to guard your head and neck. Look sharp and safeguard your eyes with sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.

And, if you would like to know more about styling outfits while protecting your skin, check out our blog on fashion tips for vitiligo

  • Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen

Cloudy days, car rides, even when hanging out indoors - UV rays can reach you and damage your skin anywhere, anytime. Sunscreen helps you block those harmful UV rays from reaching your vitiligo skin and causing trouble.

So, we strongly recommend you wear sunscreen every single day on all the exposed skin that is not covered by your clothing. Trust us, your skin will thank you! 

Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before you head out is the golden rule you should follow for maximum sun safety. How much? Squeeze enough sunscreen to fill your palm entirely, well, that's roughly an ounce and then get set for spreading. 

Oh, don't forget to apply to the areas that are easily missed. Your ears, feet, back of legs and hands deserve some sunscreen love too! No, it doesn't end here. Reapply it after every 2-hour mark. 

How to choose them?

Sunscreen labels include the terms Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and broad-spectrum defence. SPF is a number that indicates the ability of the sunscreen to stop UVB rays. 

On the other hand, the broad-spectrum feature goes a step further, protecting your skin from both UVB and UVA rays. 

So, choose a sunscreen that is resistant to water, provides broad-spectrum protection and has a SPF of 30 or more. Higher SPF means a stronger guard against the sun. It is also important to choose a sunscreen that is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.

Are there different types of sunscreen?

Yes, sunscreen comes in two primary forms: mineral and chemical, offering unique approaches for sun shields.

Mineral Sunscreen 

Packed with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, it sits on top of your skin, deflecting both UVA and UVB radiation. 

This product is formulated to be extra kind, making it a perfect choice for your sensitive vitiligo skin. Also, the mineral sunscreen is absolutely safe and effective in keeping the sun at bay. 

Chemical Sunscreen 

Chemical sunscreens work differently. They absorb UV rays, convert them into heat, and then release it from your skin. 

This sunscreen utilises chemical filters and doesn't have oxides in them. They also tend to blend in more easily, without leaving a white cast. 

  • UPF Clothing 

Not all clothes are created equal when it comes to sun protection. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is a rating system for clothing that has been evaluated for its ability to block the UV radiation emitted by the sun. 

And, the score that tells you how well the fabric seals the UV rays. The higher the UPF rating, the higher the protection will be. UPF is to clothing, what SPF is to sunscreen. These clothes are perfect for keeping your vitiligo skin happy. Let us tell you how. 

While a regular cotton shirt blocks only 20% of harmful sun rays, UPF clothing offers some serious sun protection. They shield your skin from a whopping 98% of UVA and UVB rays! Now, that is super cool, right?

  • Timing Matters

It is advisable to avoid direct sunlight during its peak intensity, which is often between 10 am and 4 pm. Spending time in the sun without protection when it is the strongest raises your risk of getting sunburn. 

Plan your outdoor time strategically, if possible. Consider scheduling your outings in the early mornings or evenings. 

  • Seek Shade

Make finding shade a priority when you are enjoying the outdoors. An umbrella can be your personal shade zone to keep you cool and comfortable. 

This umbrella will be especially helpful for those spontaneous outdoor moments when there is nowhere to hide. Look for one with a UPF rating next time you are shopping. It is an easy and handy way to block UV rays.

Ah, this informative quest has reached its end. Please be sure to include those sun-protective practices in your daily life and make your skin smile. And we, at Darclore, will the wind beneath your wings, lifting you on your incredible journey!

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