Sunburn – something everyone knows and has encountered
Almost all of us have experienced sunburn at some point, and the majority of us were probably not wearing adequate sun protection at the time. One lies in the sun hoping to get that golden tan, but instead end up looking like a lobster that’s been left in the pot too long.
You already know the simple explanation behind sunburn, you can experience red, sometimes swollen and painful skin caused by overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. When your skin is exposed to the sun for a period of time it will eventually burn, turning red, inflamed and irritated however, under the surface of the skin, things get a little more complicated.
The sun gives off three wavelengths of ultraviolet light, namely UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC light does not reach the Earth’s surface and therefore does not negatively impact our skin. UVA and UVB light not only reach your beach towel, but they actually penetrate your skin and can cause skin damage, with skin cancer being of primary concern.
Sunburn is the most obvious sign that you’ve been sitting outside for too long, but sun damage isn’t always visible to the naked eye. Under the surface of your skin, ultraviolet light can alter your DNA and prematurely age your skin as it destroys collagen and connective tissue. This causes wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and loss of skin elasticity. The best illustration to show the effects of sun exposure on the skin is to compare the skin on the underside of your arm versus the skin on a sun exposed area. On the sun exposed skin you will visibly see a darker skin tone, an uneven texture and a loss of skin integrity, this is an indication of the damaging UVA/UVB rays.
The question then is, is there anything positive about sun exposure? And the simple answer is yes. It is not all doom and gloom when it comes to enjoying the sun’s warm rays, there is a positive side to UV exposure. Sunlight triggers the production of Vitamin D helping to strengthen bones, muscles and the body’s immune system, and assisting to lower the risk of getting certain cancers, such as colon cancer. Psoriasis, a condition where the skin sheds its cells too quickly and develops itchy, scaly patches, benefits from sun exposure as UV slows the growth of the skin cells and may relieve the symptoms associated with this concern.
Even with this small window of positivity, staying out of the sun between 10am to 4pm is still the best way to avoid sun damage. This is easier said than done as many of us enjoy the outdoors.
Taking a few precautions to prevent sunburn can minimise the risks of exposure to UV radiation, these precautions include:
- Make it a habit to apply and re-apply sun protection. DermaFix DermaShield SPF45 or SPF50 High Protection UVA/UVB sunscreen can be applied daily to protect you from the damaging rays. It is recommended to apply sun protection 20-30 minutes before sun exposure as this ensures effective coverage against UV rays.
- Avoid sun exposure between the times of 10am to 4pm. This is when the sun is at its peak and therefore increases your risk of sunburn resulting in cellular damage.
- By minimising the amount of skin exposed to the sun, you minimise the amount of damage as a result of exposure. Wear protective clothing that can help to protect your body against the sun’s harmful effects.
- Not only is the skin at risk but eye sight can also weaken when looking at bright lights, wearing sunglasses assist to overcome this damage.
Remember that while a tan may look good now, you could be paying for it in the long run. The damage that is caused today will only appear in later years as wrinkled, leathery looking skin at possible risk of skin cancer. For further information on preventing sun damage with the DermaFix range contact us directly on 0861 28 23 23 or visit our website www.dermafix.co.za.