We spend all year wanting more sunshine and then when it arrives, it does so in extreme fashion! So although we all want to make the most of the sun before it disappears again for 10 months, we do need to be careful too. Much is made of sun damage and the risks of overexposure to the sun (rightly so), but the benefits of being outdoors and getting some much needed sunlight shouldn’t be forgotten either.
It is definitely healthy to be outside and catch some rays, as it is crucial for Vitamin D absorption. The important thing to note is that between 10 to 20 minutes, two or three times a week is enough to get all the Vitamin D we need. Of course, there are exceptions depending on skin types. For example darker complexions may require a little more and more fair-skinned individuals a little less.
When people think of the risks of sun exposure, they immediately think of skin cancer, which of course is something to always bear in mind, however fewer people worry about a more common effect of sun overexposure… premature ageing. Exposure to UV radiation affects the elasticity and integrity of the skin. The same UV radiation can also causes pre-cancerous lesions and represents the most common cause of skin cancer.
How do I spot sun damage?
Keep a close eye on your skin, should you see any changes to moles, lesions, or any discoloration then be sure to get them checked out, always better to be cautious. Moles that you’ve had for years and that remain unchanged are not something to worry about. If a lesion appears, changes size/ shape/ colour or starts to itch or bleed then please do get it checked immediately.
Skin cancer can be both preventable and treated in many cases, but a lot of it is down to you. You must keep a close eye to your skin and with early diagnosis, treatment will be more effective in most cases.
Make a change today… before it’s too late
As with all bad habits, it’s never too late to make a change and the sooner you start the better. So even if you’ve spent your summers getting red (and then brown) under the sun for hours on end, it’s a good time to start taking better care of your skin. Sun damage can make even young skin look more wrinkly and dry, and the sooner you manage to break the mould and take better care, the sooner you can reduce the serious risks of sun damage.
Some believe that once you have a layer of tanned skin, that you are more protected from future exposure. However, the opposite is in fact true since the accumulation of sun exposure puts you at higher risk. What this means is that the moment you decide to protect your skin, you reduce your risk to cancers and prevent further sun-related ageing.
UVA or UVB, that is the question
We find ourselves in an age where the younger generation are tanning before their holidays and year-round in some cases. Unfortunately, they choose tanning beds as a their destination to attain that pre-holiday tan layer.
What many of the tan bed users don’t know is just why they are considered dangerous. Tan beds emit UVA radiation, which damages the skin integrity and likely accelerates the skin cancer formation process. Some of the newer machines emit UVB radiation, which supposedly gives a more natural and quicker tan than UVA. UVB radiation however is just as bad if not worse for the skin. UVB causes the ‘sunburn’ effect on the outer layer of the skin and is widely associated with skin cancer. UVA however is more common in tanning beds and penetrates deeper into the skin, and is a large contributor to decreased skin elasticity and premature ageing.
Everything in moderation!
The last thing we’re recommending is to hide away from the sun or cover up entirely this summer. It simply isn’t necessary and no one would listen in any case! As with most things in life, moderation is the key. The general rules to follow are to always use sunscreen, with SPF 30 (at least!), and ensure that it protects you from both UVA and UVB. Don’t forget to reapply every two to three hours and you should be in good hands. Stay hydrated and try to avoid prolonged spells in the sun without getting some shade and a rest from the rays.
We hope the good weather continues and that if you are planning a trip abroad, that have a lovely vacation!