Skin Beauty: Protecting Yourself From Sun Damage


Most people have gotten a sunburn or tan at least once in their lifetime. Even though this seems like a minor injury to the body, over time sun damage can cause serious problems and health issues for individuals. It is possible to take certain precautions to prevent sun damage from happening to individuals and their families. Sun damage is not something to be taken lightly, as it can cause melanoma, dizziness, general fatigue, and other severe damage to the body. The following information and resources are provided to help teach about the dangers of sun damage and what can be done to prevent it.


What is Sun Damage?

Sun damage can also be called photo damage, and it pertains to how much the sun can change both the feel and the look of your skin. Sun damage can cause extrinsic aging, which is a form of aging that is caused from external factors on the body. Extrinsic aging is known as a collective form of aging. This means that the effects of sun damage actually get worse with unprotected and repeated contact with the sun.


What Causes Sun Damage?

Damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays cause sun damage. An undetectable type of radiation from the sun, ultraviolet rays come in two kinds: UVA and UVB. There are key differences between UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are known to penetrate very deeply into your skin, making them the main source of both early aging as well as skin cancer. On the other hand, UVB rays, only get to the surface of the skin, which makes them the primary source of sunburns.


How Often Am I Exposed To Harmful UV Rays?

People are exposed to injurious UV rays in any manner of activities in which they partake. For instance, sitting next to a window, driving to a job, and even walking to the car are all activities that can bring exposure to injurious UV rays. When exposed to UV rays like this in a daily manner, it is called secondary UV exposure. Secondary UV exposure can happen when you least expect it, such as in the shade and even on cloudy days. Secondary UV exposure can worrisomely increase the weekly average of UV-radiation exposure.


Increasing The Sun's Damaging Effects

Some people are more affected by sun damage than others. People who have already endured any sustained burns are in a demographic that is more susceptible to sun damage than other groups. People who have a higher risk for sun damage should take further precautions. The following illustrates what other aspects can put people in a higher-risk demographic for sun damage.

1. Where You Live: Living near the equator increases the risk of sun damage. The sun is more directly overhead, and, as a result, the UV rays are just that much stronger. People who live on mountain ranges should especially be aware of sun damage. According to research, there is approximately an eight percent to ten percent increase in the intensity of UV rays for every 1000 feet of higher altitude.

2. How Do You Vacation: People who enjoy outdoor activities a lot are at a particular risk for sun damage. The rule with sun damage is that it accumulates over a period of time. Therefore, the longer that people are exposed to UV rays, the more the skin stands a chance of getting damaged. Everyone should keep in mind to apply sun protection each time they venture out of their homes.

3. Your Medication: Some medications create situations of increased sun sensitivity. Antibiotics are an example of a medication that does this. This increased sun sensitivity is known as photosensitivity. Photosensitivity can give people rashes and sunburns, so they should also ask their doctors if their own medications can cause this problem.

4. Genetics: People who are fair-skinned, freckles, or light hair are genetically more susceptible to sun damage. People who fit the aforementioned physical descriptions are at a substantial risk of getting skin cancer and sun damage. A family history of skin cancer is also important to consider. If people know family member that have a history of skin cancer, they are advised to use regular sun protection.

5. Cosmetic Procedures: Sun sensitivity can even be worsened by particular cosmetic procedures. These cosmetic procedures are chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and microdermabrasion. People should consult with their dermatologists before they venture into the sun if they have undergone any of the aforementioned procedures.


Sun Damage Prevention

1. Protect Yourself: Sunscreen use should be a daily routine in most people's schedules. Even on cloudy days, or on days with indirect sunlight, sun damage can still occur and damage one's skin. A sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher is recommended for daily use on skin, and especially on the neck, face, lips, ears, and scalp on bald spots or for thinning hair. Sunscreen should be applied twenty minutes before going outside in order to give it time to absorb into the skin for maximum protection. When outdoors, sunscreen should be reapplied every two to three hours.

2. Take Cover: Seeking out shade on bright sunny days can help prevent overexposure to the sun on bright days. Also, wearing sun protective clothing, loose-fitting long sleeves and pants, sunglasses with UV ray protection, and a wide-brimmed hat can help protect the skin.

3. Avoid the Afternoon Sun: The sun is highest in the sky between the hours of 10 a.m and 4 p.m. therefore the UV rays are strongest during this time. By avoiding the outdoors during these hours, one can help prevent burns and future sun damage. If outdoor work or play becomes necessary during this time, extra caution should be taken to protect from these strong rays.

4. Oppose the Temptation: Although it is tempting to want to tan or lay outdoors in the sun or at a tanning bed without any sun protectant on, both natural and artificial UV rays penetrate into the inner layers of skin. The body's reaction to these UV rays is the production of melanin, the chemical that causes the skin to darken and tan. Having a tan means that the UV rays have entered the inner layer of skin, which indicates sun damage and is unhealthy for the skin and body.

5. Get Expert Advice:

By visiting a dermatologist on a regular basis, one can have their skin examined for abnormalities and changes that can help early detection and prevention of skin cancers. A dermatologist can also help teach a person how to check their own skin on a monthly basis to check for new spots or changes in skin spots, moles, and color. Early detection is key, so taking the time to examine the skin can help a person get the immediate medical care they need if any skin abnormalities or damage occur.


Is Sun Damage Dangerous?

Sun damage is always dangerous. Sun damage does not only increase the damage done to the skin, but it also increases the risk of getting skin cancer down the road. Three usual kinds of skin cancer are melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Melanoma is an especially serious concern for doctors as it has a high death rate. Melanoma usually begins in or close to a dark spot or mole on the skin; however, melanoma is curable when it is caught and treated early.


Sun Damage Treatment

Sun damage can be treated because there is a range of choices available for its treatment. Both prescription and non-prescription medicine is available for the treatment of sun damage. More serious sun damage is treatable thanks to cosmetic surgery. Dermatologists should be consulted in order to determine the degree of seriousness of the sun damage as well the necessary treatment options. For skin cancers and melanoma detection is critical for treatment to begin to fight the disease.


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