In our last blog about Sun Damage, we covered in depth how the suns’ UV rays affect the skin - a case in point being the infamous and confronting picture of that truck driver and what 25 years of sun can do to the complexion. Additionally, we looked at what it really means when we get a tan and why it is not as desirable as we think!
This article will cover everything you need to know about the physical signs of Sun Damage to the skin, how you can effectively prevent and treat Sun Damage, while also including tips to protect yourself against the effects of the sun.
So, we all know that chronic exposure to the sun has consequences for us and it doesn’t just stop with the well-known culprits of sunspots and skin cancer. In fact, while skin ageing is inevitable, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is behind approximately 80-90% of your skin’s aging.
Let’s explore the umbrella term Sun Damage, and the numerous secondary skin conditions that fall under it.
As mentioned earlier, Sun Damage is what I call a MASTER skin condition: it incorporates many smaller conditions. Just to refresh, skin conditions refer to the skin’s reactive behaviour to external and internal stimulants (environment, diet and lifestyle). One or more reactions may occur at a single time and they need to be treated with more intense skin treatments (i.e. serums etc).
Some of the skin conditions associated with Sun Damage include:
Let’s break each one of these skin conditions down to better understand how and why they come about.
Skin cancer occurs when the DNA in skin cells are damaged by UV radiation creating a malignant lesion on the skin. It is one of the most common forms of cancer globally, but also one of the most preventable – it is such a tragedy when it is put like that. According to the Australian Cancer council stats, two in three (2/3rds) Aussies will have a form of skin cancer by the time they hit 70 years of age.
Heavy exposure to ultraviolet radiation causes destruction and breakdown of the skin’s structural matrix (collagen and elastin fibres.) Without this supportive connective tissue, the skin loses its strength and flexibility and deep wrinkles and loose saggy skin results.
Too much sun exposure to the skin causes a disruption to and overloading of melanin (pigment cells) in the skin. This is when a tan results. When these pigment cells are unevenly produced, they clump together and rise to the surface of the skin creating a noticeable sun patch/spot – generally found on the face, chest and hands.
The heat from the sun dries out the skin and depletes its supply of natural water and moisturising oils leaving the skin dry, fragile and more prone to tenderness.
Sunburn is a manifestation of a burn from radiation. Depending of the degree of the burn, skin redness, inflammation, pain, blistering and peeling often ensue. Too much exposure to the sun and subsequent burning can cause permanent damage to the skin. One such permanent change is when the skin’s tiny blood vessels stretch, leaving you with visibly red broken capillaries. The other serious implication, of course is skin cancer.
After years in the sun, the skin loses its ability to effectively rebound and repair itself. A depletion of moisture and structural tissues leave the skin thick, and roughly textured.
There are ways to enjoy the sun safely...
The short answer is that prevention is better than a cure. Stay out of the sun or at least stay in a shaded place/wear protective clothing between the hours of 10am until 3pm.
Sunscreen needs to be worn every day. Even on those cloudy overcast days, those rays find us. SPF stands for sun protection factor, and it measures a sunscreen’s ability to filter UVB rays – be sure to apply a broad spectrum cream at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and re apply as per instructions especially after water contact.
Myth debunk: The belief that wearing SPF prevents the bodies’ ability to absorb the very important vitamin D (for bone health and some cancer preventions.). This myth of deficiency is not true!
Extensive damage to the eyes can be seen with too much exposure to UV light, including vision loss. Give your delicate peepers and surrounding eye area the protection they need.
The successful formula to prevent and treat sun damage is SPF + HYDRATION + ANTIOXIDANTS.
Here is a list of other ingredients that work very well to treat the effects of the skin conditions caused by sun damage:
Product recommendation: A good SPF + Origani Complexion Perfection Range
So, there it all is. The very thing that gives us light and warmth can also cause so much damage to our body and overall health. Being sun smart is one of those things that will pay off in years to come and daily sun-sense practises should be a 365 day a year ritual. Summer is here, what a great time to start! x
Origani is an Australian luxury organic skincare brand. We proudly formulate and produce cruelty-free, certified organic, vegan skincare and makeup.