As the weather starts to warm and our sweaters are eventually shed, we will all inevitably be spending more time in the sun. Time to break out the wide brimmed hats, giant sunglasses, and sunscreen! The following 10 facts will help your prepare yourself for the sunny season and protect your skin all year long!
1. There Are Two Types of Damaging UV Rays
UVA and UVB rays both damage the skin, but in different ways. UVB rays are responsible for those painful burns you’ve undoubtedly seen or experienced during the summer months and are targeted by common sunscreens. The effects of UVA rays can not be seen immediately, but rather leave their mark over time in the form of fine lines and sagging skin due to the breakdown of collagen and loss of elasticity in the skin. Both types of rays are dangerous and long term exposure without proper protection should be avoided.
2. Clouds Don't Protect You From the Sun
The Skin Cancer Foundation states that up to 80% of UV rays are able to penetrate cloud coverage. Don't underestimate the damage being done by skipping your sun protection routine on gloomy days.
3. Sun Exposure Causes Premature Aging
Wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots galore! It has been estimated that up to a whopping 90% of skin aging can be attributed to sun damage. The effects of sun exposure visibly accumulate over time in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin which cause you to look older than you are. No one wants that, so pick up your sunscreen.
4. Sunscreen Only Works When Used Properly
Sunscreen can be an amazingly effective tool when used correctly. Use an SPF of at least 30+ and be sure to follow the directions on the bottle. Most brands need to be reapplied every two hours to remain effective. Look for a daily liquid sunscreen to apply under your makeup in the morning and then a powder sunscreen for touch ups throughout the day over your makeup. Make sure your products block BOTH UVA and UVB rays.
5. Tanning is Damaging
Have you ever wondered why your skin tans? UVB rays hit your skin which causes a damaging chemical reaction in the DNA of your melanocytes (where melanin is produced). This catalyzes increased melanin production, leading to a temporary darkening of the skin. The immediate payoff of a bronzed color definitely isn’t worth the longterm damage and many countries such as Brazil and Australia have banned indoor tanning beds in hopes to discourage the harmful practice. If you're feeling pale, try a self tanning lotion instead!
6. Sunglasses are Your Friend
We only get one set of eyes and boy, are they important. Long term sun exposure can lead to a decrease in overall vision and can increase your chances of developing eye conditions such as cataracts later in life. Protect your gorgeous eyeballs with a fly pair of glasses and be sure to find a pair that protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
7. Exposure in the Shade and Inside
UV rays have a nasty habit of bouncing off of just about everything they hit. Water, sand, snow, and urban structures can all reflect UV rays and can increase the intensity of your exposure. UVA rays can also pass through glass and clouds, so lather up with your favorite sunscreen before any long road trips.
8. Healing Sun Damage
The physically damaging effects of sun exposure accumulate over time and are more or less permanent. Our body is equipped to repair sun damaged DNA, but its ability to do so is weakened as we age. Take care of your skin from the start so you don’t have to worry about the ill effects of sun exposure!
9. Time of Day Matters
Do your best to avoid exposure to the sun when it’s at its highest in the sky and its rays are strongest (the middle hours of the day). While this will reduce your exposure to UVB rays, keep in mind that UVA rays penetrate at the same level regardless of the time of day.
10. It Can Lead to Severe Health Problems
We’ve talked about cosmetic problems like wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots, but what about the more serious health concerns associated with sun exposure? 20% of Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in their lives. Those who use indoor tanning beds before the age of 35 have a 75% higher chance of developing melanoma according to The Skin Cancer Foundation (click here for some eye opening statistics).
In conclusion, wear your sunscreen and avoid sun exposure or you'll look old and maybe get cancer.
Thanks for Reading!