What is sun damage?
Sunlight travels to Earth as a mixture of both visible and invisible rays, or waves. Long waves, like radio waves, are harmless to people. But shorter waves, like ultraviolet (UV) light, can cause problems. The longest of these UV rays are called UVA rays. The shorter ones are called UVB rays or better known as our “burning” rays.
Too much exposure to UVB rays can lead to sunburn. UVA rays can travel more deeply into the skin than UVB rays, but both can affect your skin’s health.
Though you may think “I’m fine, nothing has happened yet.” Over time, exposure to these rays can make the skin less elastic. Skin can even become thickened and leathery, wrinkled, or thinned like tissue paper. You may develop irregular moles, uneven skin or even irregular pigmentation changes. “Simply put, the more sun exposure you have, the earlier your skin will age,” says Caitlin Cotnoir.
Too much sun exposure can also raise your risk for skin cancer, the most common and most preventable type of cancer in the United States. When UV light enters skin cells, it can harm the genetic material (called DNA) within. Every day 9,500 in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer and more than 3 million are diagnosed every year.
The best and most effective way to protect your skin is to limit your sun exposure. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, wear hats, stand in the shade, DO NOT layout and tan an obviously apply sunscreen especially between 10am-4pm when the suns rays are strongest. Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen! I cannot emphasize it enough! Sunscreens will come labeled with a sun protection factor (SPF), such as 15, 30, or 50. A sunscreen labeled SPF 15 means it will take you 15 times as long to get a sunburn as it would if you had no sunscreen on. A sunscreen labeled SPF 30 means it would take you 30 times as long to burn. I recommend a SPF of at least 30 or 40, if you are buying SPF 100 you may be wasting your money. The effectiveness of sunscreens is affected by several factors. A sunscreen’s active ingredients can break down over time, so please make sure to check the expiration date on the container. The amount of sunscreen you use and how often you use it affects your protection from the sun. Perspiration and time spent in the water can also reduce sunscreen effectiveness. Either way you need to be re applying sunscreen every 1-2 hours depending on your sensitivity. Sunscreens come in many forms, powders, tinted, moisturizers and stick applicators, one of my favorite sunscreens is Alumier Sheer hydration, and Alumier Matte broad spectrum. They come in a untinted and tinted version which is great if you’re like me and always on the go but still need a little bit of coverage.
(please note that these are “treatments” and not “cures.” Your skin is an investment and will take time, dedication and consistency if you want to see results.)