Skip links

Understanding the Sun and Your Skin

What is Sun-Damaged skin? 

There is no denying that the sun can feel invigorating, especially for those who deal with colder climates. However, the sun is powerful and its strength needs to be respected especially for our skin health. While it is true that the sun possesses healing effects, too much sun can cause damage, especially to our skin. The sun’s heat has the ability to dry out areas of unprotected skin and can deplete the skin’s supply of natural lubricating oils. Understanding the sun and your skin can help you mitigate these effects.

Why Does The Sun Damage The Skin

To better understand how the sun affects our skin it’s best to understand the light that it produces. There is visible light (the light that you can see), infrared radiation (what you can feel), and UV light (what you can’t see). UV light is further broken down into 3 categories:  Ultraviolet A rays (UVA), Ultraviolet B rays (UVB), and Ultraviolet C rays (UVC).  

UVA Rays

UVA rays can cause the skin to age, eye damage and reduce the functioning of the body’s immune system. These rays also contribute to the risk of skin cancer. Unfortunately, the atmosphere does little to protect us from these rays – most UVA radiation penetrates into the Earth’s surface. 

UVB Rays

UVB rays are known to cause sunburns, skin cancer, skin aging, and snow blindness and can also reduce the functioning of your body’s immune system. Although the Earth’s atmosphere protects us from most of these rays depending on your location and time, they can also be problematic.

UVC Rays

UVC rays have minimal harmful effects are they are completely absorbed by the atmosphere. 

The radiation from the sun that does reach the earth is most harmful between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Even on a cloudy day, you can be sunburned by UVB radiation.

The Most Common Types Of Sun Damage

As mentioned earlier too much exposure to the sun can cause damage to the skin. Sun damage has short and long-term consequences. 

Short term consequences

Sometimes we can have such a great time outside, with time passing us by, and we forget to protect our skin. Sunburns are a type of skin damage that makes the skin red and inflamed, feeling warmer than usual. In more severe cases sunburns can be accompanied by blisters, as well as nausea and dizziness.

Long term consequences

Spending hours in the sun without protection is definitely not recommended, the long-term changes aren’t pretty and can lead to

  • Dry, dull and uneven skin
  • A depletion of essential fatty acids leaving the skin feeling flaky and rough
  • Slowing down the rate of skin cell renewal, causing a build-up of old, dead skin cells that result in dull, congested skin
  • Skin discoloration-dark spots or more diffuse patchy hyperpigmentation
  • Destruction of collagen and elastin causes the skin to lose its elasticity and firmness
  • Diminishes skin’s hyaluronic acid leading to thinner more fragile skin

Lifestyle Factors To Prevent Sun Damage

  • Apply sunscreen before you go outdoors. 
  • If you know that you’ll be in the water-resistant sunscreen
  • Use a sunblock on your lips.
  • Use a separate sunscreen for your face
  • Limit your time outdoors between 10:00 am-3:00 pm.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV light protection.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Check if any medications or skin care products that you’re using increase your skin’s risk of UV damage. 

Although the sun has the potential to cause damage, it doesn’t have to as long as you respect its strength and take care of yourself! If you have any questions about sun-damaged skin please reach out to us through our contact page and we’d be happy to get back to you.

Leave a comment