Summer’s here and we have never been more active outdoors. If it gets us out of the house and our life of quarantine “Happy Days” Overnight we have become gardeners, painters, window cleaners, joggers and workouts in the garden. Sun feels great especially when your outdoors and it’s shining. But even on a cloudy day when you can’t see the sun those pesky rays are present and attacking the skin!! Sun damage is a result of frequent or excessive sun exposure which can lead to serious skin conditions. Its effects accumulate over time and you should be smart enough to stick to a sun protection regimen, year round.
However before you can understand how to protect skin from the sun it is helpful to know what exactly you need protection from.
UVR is divided into three different bands.
UVA / UVB / UVC
Virtually all UVC radiation is filtered out by the atmosphere so that none actually reaches the earth’s surface. However because of pollution in our modern world more rays are getting through so we need to protect ourselves more when we are outdoors.
- UVB radiation is the ray that burns the skin.
- UVA radiation is what causes aging of the skin.
UVB radiation, the rays that burn, are much stronger in some ways that UVA radiation. They have a considerable capacity to cause instant skin damage in the form of blistering sun burns. However the earth is bombarded with about 100 times as much UVA as UVB. And it’s the UVA Rays that cause aging among many other devastating effects on our bodies.
UVB rays DO NOT penetrate glass so there’s no risk of sunburn when you are in your car or sitting next to a window but that’s the only Good news.
UVA rays Do penetrate through clear glass. UVA’s rays are the suns silent killers. You don’t feel them but they are the primary cause of skin cancer and WRINKLES. Skin damage from the sun begins within the first minutes your skin is exposed to sunlight.
UV exposure causes thickening of the skin, fine lines, dehydration, premature aging of the skin, wrinkles and
Sun Damaged skin and the signs to look out for
Collagen breakdown in the skin leading to slackness of the skin
Premature aging of the skin
Loss of elasticity. Skin becomes hard and heavy
The appearance of telangiectasias (tiny blood vessels)
Fine Lines / Wrinkles
Skin Dryness / Skin Tightness
Patches of dull rough skin
Melanoma (Skin Cancer)
While the sun is busy destroying collagen underneath the surface of the skin, it also thickens the exterior of the skin, chokes off the skins blood supply, and reduces the skins elasticity.
- Fact: There is no such thing as a safe tan. Most of us think sun damage occurs from baking in the sun and getting a deep dark tan.
- Sun Damage begins the minute you walk outside of your house any time of the day whether it is sunny or cloudy winter or summer. The damage associated with wrinkling and skin cancer begins the moment your skin is exposed to sunshine
- Despite the fact that tanning is a protective response in the skin, it isn’t helpful at all. By some estimates a tan provides a SPF of only 2.
- There just isn’t any way a tan of any kind can be considered healthy.
SPF rating refers only to protection from UVB radiation.
An SPF number lets you know how long you can stay in the sun without burning while wearing that product.
It is NO indication of protection from UVA radiation which is the UV that causes skin cancer and wrinkles.
To give yourself the best possible protection from UVA radiation your must use a product which includes the following ingredients.
- Titanium Dioxide
- Zinc Oxide
How to Reverse Sun Damaged Skin
It is possible to reverse some sun damage in the skin. But the first step is always to start to protect immediately from further exposure and damage. Preventation is the most important step you can take today. So never miss a day without sun screen. It lowers your exposure to UV and it hydrates and protects your skin.
Exfoliate to get rid of Dead Skin Cells
If the skin is already showing signs of excessive dryness and tightness and looks dull and lacks lustre its possible it is a build up of dead skin cells. The dryness in the skin caused by sun exposure prevents the skin from shedding itself naturally and the skin cells build up on top of each other and create a heavy dull dry look and feel in the skin. Gentle exfoliation once or twice a week depending on your sin type can be very beneficial. I recommend an enzymatic exfoliation because it’s gentler on your skin but also has the ability to dissolve skin cells on a deeper level.
Keep your Skin Hydrated
Our skin looses moisture daily. How fast we lose it depends on our skin type and how healthy our skin is to begin with. Exposure to the sun and the elements will dehydrate our skin. So proper hydration is crucial to keeping our skin healthy and glowing. A good quality hydrating serum is the most effective product for penetrating deep into the layers of the skin. Taking an Omega 3 supplement is also excellent for helping the skin cell to hold on to its own moisture.
Antioxidants: “Our Body’s Fighting Army”
When your skin is exposed to any pollutants from the outside world including UV rays it produces what’s called a “Free Radical” My description of a free radical is “ A young radical adolescence with no respect for the law” Robs from the healthy and leaves only destruction behind. This is why we need antioxidants. Antioxidants are our national army. They send in the troops and they fight the bad guys. (Free Radicals)
When your skin is exposed to UV rays there is an increase in Free Radicals and this can speed up aging in the skin. It does this by damaging the production of collagen by hardening the collagen fibres. Foods high in antioxidants Vit C/ Vit E / Vit A and Vit D3 help fight these free radicals. We also need to get these antioxidants from your skin care and supplements so that it can help rebuild the structures of the skin.
There are Positive Effects of the Sun too…!!
It enhances your mood: Sunlight boosts serotonin in the brain which makes us feel good. Being in the sun makes us feel better and give us more energy.
Treats seasonal Depression (Commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder). In some people the lack of sunlight in the winter months seems to trigger depression. Symptoms include bad moods, difficulty socialising with friends, overeating, tiredness and sleeping too much.
Improves Sleep: Sunlight exposure impacts on how much melatonin your brain produces. This is what tells your brain it’s time to sleep. In the darkness of winter months melatonin is produced earlier in the day and we get tired and sleepy earlier in the evening. With more sunlight in the summer you are more likely to feel more awake. However with modern technology, TV screens, computer screens (including cell phones and tablets) out exposure to light has changed. This has resulted in higher levels of insomnia than it was before these devices were invented.
Relieves Stress: Everyone experiences stress for various reasons, such as family, work and health issues. Stress can be relieved in a variety of ways, including exercise, having relaxing hobbies, walking the dog or by getting out in the fresh air for a little sun exposure.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a vitamin involved in maintaining healthy bone strength. One way you can get this sun vitamin is exposure to the ultraviolet light from the sun. However, you don’t need much time in the sun to reap the benefits. Only 15 minutes of sun exposure is all that is required to provide all the Vitamin D you need.