Do you enjoy taking long sunbaths? Everyone fancies a nice good tan, but not when it comes to sunburns, wrinkles, acne, and age spots. Learn how prolonged sun exposure can damage your skin and discover how you can avoid that.
Usually, sunlight is considered a good source to get vitamin D and a brilliant tan. That morning sunshine especially just brightens your mood and refreshes you in and out. But too much time spend facing the merciless UV rays from the sun can ultimately harm your skin. You can develop so many skin conditions like rashes, acne, age spots, and even skin cancer if you spend too much time in the sun.
In this article, we are breaking down how the sun can damage your skin and how you can prevent that. Let’s get started!
What is UV Radiation?
Sunlight is composed of three types of ultraviolet rays:
- Ultraviolet A
- Ultraviolet B
- Ultraviolet C
Let’s discuss the UVC (Ultraviolet C) rays first because they do not interact with our skin. They have the shortest wavelength, which is the reason why they are absorbed into the ozone and don’t make it to our atmosphere.
UVA (Ultraviolet A) and UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays on the other hand reach our atmosphere and also cause adverse effects to the skin, including cancer.
UVA rays have the longest wavelength, which makes them penetrate the atmosphere unscathed. When you lay on the tanning bed, these rays are basically giving you the tan. Prolonged UVA exposure is very harmful to your skin, as it causes premature aging and weakens the immune system. UVA rays also affect our skin DNA, making it very difficult for the body to oppose cancer cells.
UVB rays have a shorter wavelength in comparison to UVA rays and don’t penetrate the skin as deeply. But UVB rays are also harmful to your skin, as they can cause direct tissue damage, such as sunburn.
Too much UVB exposure can alter the skin DNA, increasing the risk of developing skin cancer.
The intensity of the UVB rays varies depending on the region, season, and time of the day.
Effects of UV Exposure to the Skin
UVA and UVB, both rays are harmful to your skin but have different kinds of effects.
UVA rays, due to their longer wavelength have the ability to penetrate the skin more deeply and cause premature skin aging such as dark spots and wrinkles. UVA rays are also attributed to skin cancer, and studies have shown that these rays have a bigger role in the development of skin cancer than previously found.
UVB rays often cause damage to the outer layer (dermis) of the skin, and this usually includes, reddening, tanning, or burning. Vitamin D also comes from the UVB rays, but prolonged exposure can do severe damage to your skin.
Both types of UV rays are responsible for causing skin cancer by altering the skin cell DNA and kick-starting cell mutation. UV radiation can also cause skin damages like:
- Age spots
- Premature aging
- Sagging of the skin
- Dark spots
If you have a lighter skin tone, you may be more prone to sun damage. But protecting the skin before going out is crucial for everyone, regardless of their complexion.
The amount of damage you can get from UV radiation depends on the following things:
- The season. You can have more sun damage during the hot days of summer than in the winter.
- The time of the day. The sun is at its peak during the day. So, obviously, you have more sun damage in the middle of the day than in the night. Cloudy days also mean less sun exposure.
- Your location. If you are near reflective surfaces like water, snow, or ice, you are going to absorb more UV radiation.
How to protect your skin from the sun?
Avoiding the sun is of course impossible, but you can limit the penetration of UV radiation to your skin. The only way to protect your skin against the harmful UV radiations from the sun is using a good-quality, clinically-approved sunscreen.
Sunscreen will help you combat UV radiation, and allow your skin to stay healthy. But, choosing the sunscreen with right SPF and ingredients is essential. You need a sunblock with a broad spectrum and SPF higher than 15. Please check before buying whether your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB radiation.
Here are some tips on applying the sunscreen correctly:
- Apply your sunscreen for at least 20-30 minutes before stepping outside and applying makeup.
- Reapply your sunscreen after every 2-3 hours.
- Use your sunscreen every day, even when it is cloudy outside.
In addition to good sunscreen, use other things such as sunglasses or hats to protect your head, neck, eyes, and ears. Also, avoid spending prolonged time in the sun if it is not necessary.
Treatments for Aged and Sun-Damaged Skin
If you have wrinkles due to sun damage, it is possible to reduce their appearance through these cosmetic treatments:
- Chemical Peels: chemical peel is a good procedure to treat sun-damaged skin, superficial scars, and hyperpigmentation.
- Botulinum toxin type A: injecting the skin with botulinum toxin helps reduce wrinkles formed due to sun damage. It is a non-invasive treatment with no downtime and gives impressive results.
- Laser Skin Resurfacing: This treatment uses high energy to remove the outer layer of the skin. This is an effective procedure that enhances skin texture and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
If you have sun-damaged skin, it is best to get it checked by a skin professional. There are tons of treatments that can help you remove sun-damaged skin and signs of premature aging from your face. Contact Vanity Medical Spa today and get an appointment with a dermatologist who is an expert in cosmetic treatments. We administer all kinds of treatments that can help you improve your sun-damaged skin.