Do We Need UV Protection in Singapore?
Here is Why Everyone in Singapore Needs UV Protection
Typically, Singapore experiences high to extreme ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels throughout the year. For this reason, the Singaporean National Environment Agency (NEA) advises locals to embrace protective measures to mitigate the possibility of getting sunburns due to these conditions.
The UV Index in Singapore
Upon evaluating the data published on the NEA website regarding the mean monthly UV levels in Singapore, it is evident that the country receives the radiation in abundance. The nation's proximity to the equator is perhaps the primary reason behind this extremity. When compared to other countries, the UV radiation in Singapore is significantly higher.
Table showing the Average Daily Maximum UV Index in Singapore (May 2010 to Apr 2012)
Exposure Categories of the UV Index
(source: NEA, http://www.nea.gov.sg/training-knowledge/weather-climate/uvradiation-uvindex)
And compared to the rest of the world, Singapore also seems to have a higher level of UV radiation as shown in the table excerpt below.
Table illustrating the changes in UV radiation levels with season and latitude. Maximal UV Index values are given for a range of cities in different countries, calculated for the 21st of each month.
So what is the problem with these levels of UV exposure on a daily basis for us
Adverse effects of UV radiation
Premature Aging of the Skin
Typically, UV rays are more penetrative than ordinary light rays. They permeate beyond the superficial layers of the epidermis, leading to the gradual destruction of the skin’s structural cells. After prolonged periods of exposure, the cells eventually wear out, making the skin to lose its elasticity. Consequently, wrinkles develop, and the affected individual appears old, even though they might still be young.
Even worse, the sagging of the skin might not be evenly spread out. In most cases, the wrinkles usually appear on the side that was exposed to the harmful rays.
Sunburn and Skin Cancer
Basking in the sun, especially during the morning hours, is often a fun activity. However, prolonging this activity might have adverse effects on the human body. The irritation felt by a person who has been exposed to the sun for a long time is caused by the shorter UV rays, commonly known as UVB. Besides pain, sunburns are also associated with fatigue as well as compromising of the body’s immune system.
According to researches, children who suffer from occasional sunburns and related blisters have a significantly higher chance of contracting skin cancer in their later years. Still, exposure to UV rays might not cause sunburns on some individuals, but it increases the possibility of getting skin cancer. Essentially, frequent exposure to harmful UV radiation is probably one of the most significant predisposing factors of skin cancer.
Some parts of Australia receive a UV index that is on par with Singapore’s averages. Studies conducted in these areas have revealed that up to 67% of residents are highly likely to be skin cancer patients by the time they become septuagenarians. Evidently, exposure to UV rays is the primary reason behind the proliferation of such conditions.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Currently, the Australia Cancer Council is running an initiative known as the SunSmart program. As the name suggests, this programs seeks to create awareness on how to reduce the effects of harmful UV rays. Some of the methods they employ to achieve this objective include:
Slip on some sun-protective clothing – Wearing protective clothing so that the skin is not exposed to the sun. This includes kids swimwear, rash guards, and so on. Such protective gear, especially swimwear Singapore and rash guards Singapore are available at most outdoor recreational areas.
UPF50+ rashguards from Snapper Rock
- Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ sunscreen – Applying sunscreen before going out in the sun. Preferably, the lotion should be applied 20 minutes before basking, and subsequently after every two hours. Notably, sunscreen should not be used as an excuse for overstaying under the sun.
Sunscreens from Cancer Council
- Slap on a hat – Wear a hat, as this protects the entire face as well as other parts of the head.
UPF50+ hats from Wallaroo Hats
- Seek shade – Stay under shade if possible.
- Slide on some sunglasses – Wear sunglasses.
UV protected sunglasses from Babiators
For individuals who want to go out with children, the following protective measures should be deployed:
- Go out when the UV levels are considerably lower, preferably early in the morning.
- Ensure that as much skin is covered, and complement the clothing with a cap or hat.
- Apply sunscreen on the uncovered skin.
- Identify a place with shade.
While it is an impossible task to avoid exposure to UV rays entirely, we can certainly mitigate the effects by being proactive and implementing preventive measures such as the ones stated above.
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