What does sun exposure do to the Skin?
Excess sun exposure can have harmful effects to the skin,
How The Sun Can Damage Your Skin
The sun gives off both UVA and UVB rays. The shorter UVB rays do not penetrate very deeply. As a result, they burn the top layer of your skin. Longer UVA rays penetrate into deeper layers of your skin. (There also are UVC rays—shortest wavelength, but are completely blocked by Earth’s atmosphere)
Both types of UV radiation cause molecular changes that damage the DNA within your skin’s cells and ultimately affect your appearance. UV radiation “energizes” electrons, causing them to break free of their atomic “home,” resulting in free radicals
Free radicals look for vulnerable compounds to attach to so that they can become atomically stable again
The vulnerable compounds are often the compounds that comprise your dermal matrix—collagen and elastin. When free radicals attach to these fibers, they deteriorate, resulting in a loss of tone and resilience in your skin
The result: photoaging:
- Diminished elasticity, sagging skin
- Thinning or thickened skin
All of these changes add up to premature skin aging. And, it’s cumulative—the more time you spend in the sun, the earlier your skin begins to age.
Your skin does have some self-repair capability, but as you age, that ability declines. And hidden damage below the surface can show up later in life. What’s worse, though, is that repeated damage can alter skin cell’s DNA, leading to the development of skin cancer.
Why is Suncreen important?
Spending time outdoors enlivens your body and soul. In terms of your health, sun exposure also helps your body produce vitamin D, which is integral to your body’s absorption of calcium. Excess sun exposure is detrimental, however, which is why wearing sunscreen is a must when spending any time outside. Here are a few of the many reasons why sunscreen should be a part of your skincare arsenal all year long.
It Reduces Your Risk Of Cancer
The best reason to wear sunscreen on a daily basis is the impact it has on skin cancer rates. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher every day can reduce your melanoma risk by 50%, while also reducing the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 40%. For the best results, reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming. You should also wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to provide your head, neck, and eyes greater protection.
It Prevents Premature Wrinkling
Ultraviolet light causes free radicals to form in the skin, which lessens its elasticity. When skin is less elastic, it’s prone to sagging and drooping, which then creates wrinkles. Much like smoking, excessive sun exposure can cause wrinkling to occur much sooner than it would have normally. This is especially true for fair-skinned people, who have less natural sun protection.
It Also Prevents Skin Discoloration
Along with wrinkles, UV rays from the sun also cause discoloration. Sunspots, as they’re often called, are dark brown hyperpigmented spots that form on your face after years of UV abuse. Once they’ve formed, you’ll need to undergo laser skin resurfacing or chemical peels to have them removed. While they’re not harmful, they can diminish the look of your skin.
How Sunscreen Helps Protect Your Skin
Sunscreen works by keeping UV rays from penetrating your skin. There are two mechanisms by which sunscreens can work:
Block UV radiation – these sunscreens use a mineral barrier to physically block/reflect UV radiation so that it never penetrates your skin at all.
Lock UV radiation – these sunscreens use chemicals that absorb and trap UV radiation to prevent oxidative damage.
When you choose a full-spectrum sunscreen, you get sun protection against the full spectrum of UV radiation—UVA and UVB rays.
What are “Sun Spots?”
What Are Sun spots?
Sunspots, also called age spots or solar lentigines, are caused by sun damage to the skin. They appear as flat spots that are black, brown or gray on areas more often exposed to sunlight, usually:
- Backs of the hands
Sunspots appear when the sun’s UVA and UVB rays penetrate the skin and stimulate melanocyte cells, which begin to (over)produce melanin, the skin’s natural pigment. The result is spots of irregular color, or sunspots.
Unlike indicators of malignant skin damage, sun spots are flat and evenly round—either circular or ovate. If you see areas of hyperpigmentation that have raised edged, have variated color and/or have no defined shape, those spots should be examined by a doctor.
Sunspots develop over long periods of repeated sun exposure. The best defense is sun protection. However, if you already see sunspots, there are treatments you can use that don’t require you to see a doctor or aesthetician.
How You Can Treat Summer Sunspots
One of the best ways to treat summer sunspots is by using sunscreens, to prevent the effects of UV radiation on the skin. Another great way is through exfoliation , which helps the skin renew itself and slough away the (hyper)pigmented area. Other ways to help treat sunspots include application of skin brighteners. Natural skin brighteners include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Azelaic Acid
- Ferulic Acid
- Phytic Acid
- Other antioxidants
Hale Cosmeceuticals offers several products to help treat sunspots. We have moisturizers with AHA and retinol to help with exfoliation and cell turnover. Our skin brightening powerhouse, though, is SB-7 Skin Brightener, which combines seven powerful lightening agents that are both safe and nourishing.