Ever wonder how those beautiful, warm rays of the sun can have such long lasting and damaging effects on your skin?
Like a straightened rainbow, you can picture the spectrum of sunlight with the red, orange and yellow wavelengths being the longest and making up infrared light. As wavelengths shorten, green and blue light speeds up into indigo blue and violet colors, which are visible and contain Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B rays. These are the rays that cause sun damage to our skin.
UVA rays are the ones that cause tanning and premature skin aging – I like to think of the A in UVA for Aging. UVB rays, cause sunburn and skin damage, which I like to think of the B standing for Burn. Both types of radiation can lead to photoaging (wrinkles and leathery skin) and skin cancer.
Repeated sunburning speeds up the aging appearance of your skin, caused by loosening of your collagen and elastin which are like your own skin’s natural girdle or support, skin thinning with underlying blood vessels more visible, leathery and rough skin texture, and the appearance of freckles and age spots.
When I asked my dermatologist what he would say to you about preventing sun damage, he told me how surprised he was that so many people are more concerned with finding treatments for their wrinkles than preventing them. He recommended staying out of sun during peak hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., regular use of sunscreen, reapplying every couple of hours, and keeping hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Wearing a hat and lightweight clothing is great if you are very fair skinned.
When you are looking for a good SPF lotion, make sure you find one that provides protection for UVA AND UVB rays. In a recent article in The Orange County Register (June 16, 2010), “Shedding Light On Sunscreen Debate”, author Landon Hall says in discussing the right amount of SPF to use, “the level of protection climbs only a little the higher you go. SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, the short-wave radiation that causes sunburn: SPF 30 blocks 97%; and SPF 50 blocks 98%. There’s no sunscreen that blocks 100% of the rays. SPF doesn’t apply to UVA rays, which penetrate more deeply into the skin and can cause wrinkles, freckles and other signs of premature aging over time. Shop for sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.”
Then there is the need for your daily dose of Vitamin D, which you can easily achieve with 15 minutes of sun exposure every day. Vitamin D is an important topic for another time, as it has great implications for our immune systems, and bones. Suffice it here to say that a little sun is good, and too much can be harmful.
Enjoy being outdoors during the warm months using preventative measures to protect your beautiful skin from long lasting damage and keep drinking water all day long!
Thanks for stopping by and “Making My Life Beautiful”!