If you have exposed your skin to the sun for too long, you may have a few lasting souvenirs: Wrinkles, loss of elasticity, sagging skin and dark spots.
There is no getting around it, sun is hard on your skin. UV rays damage collagen, and elastin in the skin so it won't spring back into shape.
Excessive sun exposure accounts for 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging. Many skin changes that were commonly believed to be due to aging, such as easy bruising, are actually a result of prolonged exposure to UV radiation.
Being in the sun often over time, even if you don't burn, can lead to skin cancer. A tan is the body's desperate attempt to protect itself from the sun's harmful rays.
Sun damage is reversible to some extent, but you can't completely undo the damage to your skin. However, starting to be careful with sun protection will, alone, help heal sun damage. The earlier you address sun damage, the more likely you may be able to reverse some of the possible consequences.
While superficial repair is possible with the help of certain treatments and topicals, DNA damage cannot be undone.
What Are The Consequences Of Sun Exposure?
The first and formost one is wrinkles. Sunlight damages collagen fibers. Collagen is a protein necessary for healthy skin and bones. As the collagen is removed, elastin, a fibrous protein, accumulates. The elastin triggers the release of an enzyme called metalloproteinases. These enzymes break down the collagen, which result in imperfect collagen fiber formation. As the process is repeated, wrinkles will slowly start to appear.
Wrinkles also form when free radicals enter our body. Free radicals can come to us via UV light exposure, as well as, smoking and chemical exposure. A free radical is a substance that possesses only one electron, instead of the normal two. Since electrons come in pairs, the free radical will actively try to replace its missing electron, by removing it from another molecule in our body. This can result in cell damage, ranging from cancer to metalloproteinase production and collagen breakdown.
Incorporating an antioxidant-rich topical such as a Vitamin C serum or moisturizer to neutralize the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays, encourage the production of collagen and prevent further DNA damage. In addition, eat foods that are high in antioxidants like blueberries, leafy greens, watermelon, tomatoes, fish and nuts and seeds to boost antioxidant protection from, within.
Are Tanning Booths Safer?
In short, the answer is No. Tanning booths use ultraviolet rays. Makers of the booths may claim that they use "harmless" UVA rays. But both UVA and UVB rays cause skin damage. While UVA rays take longer than UVB rays to damage the skin, they go deeper into the skin than UVB rays.
How To Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage
The first and foremost step to repair photodamage is to stop it in its tracks by using sun protection. "Sunscreen along with sun protective clothing are the best defense.
If you can't protect yourself by staying out of the sun or wearing the right kind of clothing, use sunscreen to help protect you. But don't think that you're completely safe from the sun just because you're wearing sunscreen.
It’s important not to rely on high-SPF sunscreens alone. No single method of sun defense can protect you perfectly. Sunscreen should also include seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including wide-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses.
UV rays are out in force in the summer, but Ultraviolet A (UVA) light comes in contact with our skin year-round, gradually damaging and aging our skin whenever we step outside.
Use An Rich Antioxidant Cream Or Serum. Incorporating an antioxidant-rich topical such as a Vitamin C serum or moisturizer to neutralize the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays, encourage the production of collagen and prevent further DNA damage.
In addition, eat foods that are high in antioxidants like blueberries, leafy greens, watermelon, tomatoes, fish and nuts and seeds to boost antioxidant protection from, within.
Stay hydrated: Hydrate your skin by using topicals that contain hyaluronic acid and ceramides (lipids) to help draw in and lock in moisture. Vitamin E is a potent lipid-soluble antioxidant which is one of pearl powder's precious agents, and both hyaluronic acid and pearl powder are in Sarah's Pearl Cream, which is packed with essential vitamins and potent antioxidants. It is a deep hydrating skin cream.
Also, up your water intake to hydrate from within.
Seek shade when possible: While many of us look to the sun as a natural source of vitamin D, according to the National Institute of Health, as little as 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure is sufficient to help synthesize the "sunshine vitamin." So avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight when possible, especially from 10 am to 4 pm when the sun’s rays are most intense .
How should sunscreen be used?
Dermatologist Dr. Mitchel says, "If you don’t wear sunscreen with SPF50 or more daily, nothing will help. And be careful, because products with very high SPFs often create a false sense of security.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended outdoor activity.
Cancer Council recommends applying a sunscreen that is SPF30 or higher before heading outside, every two hours, after swimming, sweating, or towel drying.
Put the sunscreen everywhere the sun's rays might touch you, including your ears, the back of your neck and bald areas of your scalp. When going outdoors, apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before exposure and reapply every one to two hours. Put more on every hour if you're sweating or swimming.
How To Select a Sunscreen?
Look for the AAD seal when buying sun-protection products. The AAD SEAL OF RECOGNITION has been established to recognize products that have been manufactured for sun-protection benefit and have met a stringent set of evidence-based criteria established by the Academy using FDA guidelines and that have been verified by a panel of dermatologists and an independent scientist.
Pearl Powder contains a natural sunscreen. But don't rely solely on that either. Mix a bit with a high SPF sunscreen and pat onto face for a naturally boosted sun protector.
Lines Of Defense
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Use umbrellas, laundry additives, eye protection and window films/tints.
Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.
Drink More Water. With the multiple activities planned during the summer months, the amount of water you drink might be neglected. Keep a filled container of water with you at all times and drink it throughout the day. Flavored waters and sports drinks will also help to renew the lost nutrients and fluids that can damage and dry the skin.
Moisturize More. Dryness causes the skin to be red, itchy, and irritated. It also causes lines and wrinkles to be more prominent. To look your best in the summertime, use a moisturizer or serum that contains Vitamin C. Vitamin C will remove free radicals from the skin, repair past damage, and helps to hydrate your skin better. This moisturizer/ sunscreen combination will also add a barrier of sun protection.
Exfoliate the skin more during this time to remove dead skin to have fresh looking skin.
Stop To Eat. Being on the go means we might not take time to eat properly. The body needs certain nutrients to replenish the skin with collagen. Foods like green leaf vegetables, berries, fruit, and fish contain protein and other nutrients that will keep the skin hydrated and at its best. When your body lacks the food it needs, it will begin to run down and lack energy to renew itself and repair damage.
Less Is Better. If you must wear cosmetics when out in the sun, keep it to a minimum. Start with a good moisturizer and bronzer for an all over sun tan glow. Add a moisturizing lip gloss and a touch of mascara for an easy summer look.
Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Naturally, there are ways to reduce wrinkle formation. Reducing the amount spent in the sun is good advice. Drinking plenty of water hydrates the skin and softens the wrinkles around the face. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega 3 fatty acids also helps in alleviating wrinkles.
There is no good or safe UV light. Ultraviolet radiation exposure will cause skin to wrinkle and cause other serious maladies. The best line of defense is to limit exposure to the sun.