How sunlight can damage your skin

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Since we are based in Florida, we know the dangers of excessive sun exposure. It can happen daily if you are not careful. As Floridians, when we head to the beach we know we must lather up with the proper sunscreen first and reapply after a few hours, because if you’ve ever had a bad sunburn, you do everything you can not to get one again.

The sun seems so far away as to be harmless. Don’t be deceived! Even on cloudy days the sun’s rays can still have major effects on your skin. When the sun is at its strongest, it can damage your skin in no time at all. That is why it is important to always be prepared.

What can the sun do to your skin?

Certain amounts of sunlight are beneficial to the skin for the creation of Vitamin D. UV rays, though, can be very harmful as they can burn the skin.

Besides a sunburn, prolonged UV damage to the skin can cause your skin to lose elasticity meaning wrinkles.

Having skin protection is important, because besides creating a sunburn, UV rays can also penetrate deeper layers of the skin where they can damage and even kill skin cells.

The worst effect of prolonged sun exposure over many years is skin cancer. It’s important to know what to look for and detect skin cancer early in order to treat it. The Skin Cancer Foundation has a helpful Step by Step Self ExamStep by Step Self Exam to help you check your skin.

How can you protect yourself?

Sunburns, dead skin cells, wrinkles, and skin cancer are all due to lack of skin protection while out in the sun. If you can’t avoid being out in the sun, such as days at the beach or an outdoor picnic, it is important to do your best to reduce your contact with the sun.

Here’s some helpful tips to do just that:

  • Find shade
    If you are going to the beach and know you will be there all morning, either find a spot with shade or bring your own umbrella. Alternate between spending time in the sun and water, and under the shade.
  • Lather up before you go
    In order not to forget, it’s best to put on sunscreen before you head outside. If possible, have someone apply it to hard to reach areas like your back. Make sure you don’t forget to do your face, scalp, ears, back of your neck, and tops of your feet which are all common areas that people tend to miss. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends 1 ounce of sunscreen to your whole body 30 minutes before heading outside and reapplying every 2 hours.
  • Cover up
    This is especially important for people with sensitive skin, including children and seniors. If possible, wear long sleeves, a hat, and shorts or a sarong. Don’t cause yourself to go into heat exhaustion by layering up, if you get too hot then remove the long sleeves.
  • Protect your eyes
    The Skin Cancer Foundation has a helpful article detailing how sunlight can damage your eyes. This includes diseases like eyelid cancer, macular degeneration, corneal sunburn, and more. It is important to have the proper eyewear while outside, not just to be able to see better, but to protect your eyes which are extremely sensitive to the sun’s rays.

 

Resources

How to Read a Sunscreen Label
The Skin Cancer Foundation

Clothing: Your First Line of Defense Infographic
The Skin Cancer Foundation

Your Eyes’ Best Defense
The Skin Cancer Foundation

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This entry was posted in Anti-Aging, Skin, skincare, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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