The Effects of Sun Exposure on Skin – Protect & Prevent
The warmth of the sun’s rays as they hit your face is one of the best feelings we can have. It’s comforting, rejuvenating, and energizing. Sunny summer days and blue-sky winter mornings are simply beautiful, and they make us want to get outside and enjoy every minute before the sun goes down. Sun exposure has many different effects, including emotional state of mind, well-being and general health. Some of these are positive and some are harmful.
We’re all familiar with the most common danger from too much sun, which comes in the form of a sunburn. We have been warned about it by our parents since we were kids. We’re no strangers to sunscreen, that’s for sure. But what other effects does sun exposure have on our skin? Some of them are subtle, and can take a lot longer to materialize. Here, we will talk about some of the most common effects of sun exposure on your skin, and how you can combat the negatives to keep your skin healthy.
Positive Effects of Sun Exposure
Let’s start with the good news. Sunshine, in moderation, is actually healthy for us. The sun’s ultraviolet rays, or UV rays as they are commonly known, are needed by our bodies to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential, as it helps keep our immune systems strong, as well as helping to strengthen bone and muscle.
In addition, UV rays help relieve the symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis, where the skin sheds skin too fast resulting in dry, scaly patches that can be quite itchy. UV rays help slow down the growth of skin cells, helping to provide some relief.
Lastly, sunshine helps improve our general mood. There have been studies that have shown a correlation between exposure to sunshine and the production of mood-enhancing chemicals in our brain called tryptamines, which are produced by the pineal gland.
Looks like the dreaded ‘February Blahs’ that we get in the dark days of winter can be beaten back, courtesy of a sun & sand all-inclusive trip!
Negative Effects of Sun Exposure
As much as we need a bit of sun to maintain our health, there’s a very fine line between what is generally accepted as a good amount of sunshine, and what can start to have damaging effects on your skin and your health. Aside from the ever-present danger of sunburn, there are other ways too much sun can impact your body. Excess sun can cause damage to your eyes, heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and a variety of different effects on your skin.
In worst case scenarios, excess exposure to the sun and its UV rays can result in the development of skin cancer. Skin cancer comes in many forms, and many different degrees of severity. In addition, the risk of skin cancer increases with both age and sun exposure, so a cautious and moderated approach to the amount of sun you are exposed to in your lifetime can have a significant impact on your level of risk.
One other way that sun affects our skin that is often overlooked or ignored is the early onset of wrinkles and an accelerated appearance of aging. Your skin contains collagen and elastic tissue that helps keep the skin smooth and firm. Exposure to UV rays can damage collagen and elastic tissue, causing it to lose its ability to return to its normal shape. This results in sagging and wrinkles. Excess of sun exposure can also cause the appearance of irregular light or dark spots on the skin.
How to Minimize the Effects of Sun Exposure
Fortunately, there are methods available and products you can use to help minimize your exposure to damaging UV rays, as well as reduce and reverse the visible signs of excessive sun on your skin.
Here are three of the simplest ways to minimize your exposure, and even reduce the visible changes to your skin.
- You’ll want to invest in a high-quality sunscreen with an SPF rating of 45 or higher, and always remember to make sure you apply it regularly when you are outdoors in the sun.
Hats & Umbrellas
- Shade is a surefire way to avoid UV rays, so stick to shaded areas as much as possible, and remember that large-brimmed hats and umbrellas are always handy to have at the ready. They also help reduce the chance of sun stroke and heat exhaustion.
- Skin care tools such as the Silk’n FaceFX Anti-Aging Device helps to reduce the visual impacts of sun exposure and general aging.
- The FaceFX uses Home Fractional (HF) Red Light therapy that diminishes the appearance of wrinkles on the face, crow’s feet and bags under the eyes.
As you can see, just because you’re concerned with the impact that sun exposure will have on your skin, it’s no reason to close yourself off from the outside world.
With a little planning, and some of the right products to help you combat the effects of UV rays, there’s no need to miss out on those amazing sun-filled summer days or clear sky mornings on the ski hill.Get out there and enjoy the sun, just remember to protect your beautiful skin while you’re at it!
- Alyssa Naccarato