The sun is responsible for life on our planet, and it’s the major source of Vitamin D, vital for bone development and strong teeth. The sun also has the feel-good factor; it’s no co-incidence that those people living in countries without much daylight during the winter are more prone to feeling depressed than those living in warm countries. However, if it’s not treated with caution the sun can be a health hazard so it’s important to be careful when outside especially on hot days.
As pleasurable as sunshine is, with its warming, soothing rays and the way it glistens in the sky, it is extremely dangerous. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UVA rays is so important, for a multitude of reasons, particularly because of cancer. UVA penetrates deep into the skin and these are the rays which trigger skin cancer and aging (UVA accounts for 80% of skin aging!), while UVB rays burn the skin’s top layer. FACT! If you never exposed your skin to the sun, you would have baby soft, practically line-free skin.
Even if you don’t sun-worship, spending hours lounging around a swimming pool or lapping up the heat by the beach, your skin is still at risk. Not only does sun protection protect you from burning, it also keeps your skin hydrated and slows down the aging process. However, sun protection doesn’t just come in a bottle of SPF50. You need to take the right steps to keep your skin shielded from the sun as much as possible.
- Burns your skin
- Dehydrates and dries out the skin
- Causes hyperpigmentation (freckles, sun spots)
- Increases the speed of aging by causing lines, wrinkles and sagging
- Causes cancerous melanoma
- Causes skin growths
- Thins skin
How the Sun Breaks Down the Skin’s Support System
Your body’s natural cement, collagen is naturally produced by your body and is a protein that is responsible for keeping your skin nicely elastic. Not only does it keep skin plump and firm, it strengthens tendons and supports the skin. As a protector, it helps to keep your skin armed with what it needs to combat trauma. Additionally, it builds tissue and muscle but most of all, it is what your skin needs to keep it youthful because its major responsibility is cell renewal.
From that first moment that your skin is exposed to sunshine, the sun attacks your collagen stores. When skin is constantly exposed to sunshine without protection, it stops being able to repair itself. That’s the beginning of the aging process. Medical experts call this “photoaging”.
Your skin starts to naturally lose collagen from as early as your 20’s. Looking at children, teenagers and young adults, you will see how plump and hydrated their complexions are. You won’t spot wrinkles or lines on young people’s skins and that’s because their bodies are still making collagen. Aging hasn’t yet taken hold.
The sun is the biggest attacker of collagen and the more sun you expose yourself to, the faster the loss of collagen. The problem is, as you age, collagen loses its ability to fight back as effectively as before, because its stores are depleted.
More on Why We Know the Sun Ages Skin
There was a study by L’Oreal in Paris on skin aging based on 300 people age between 30 to 78 years old. 150 of those participating regularly sunbathed, the rest avoided sun exposure. Every person was scrutinized by a panel of dermatologists, medical experts and independent volunteers and each was asked to determine the participants’ ages. The results showed that those that regularly sunbathed looked older than their real ages – in fact, when it was calculated mathematically, it showed that as little as 2% of sun damage aged a person by 3 years.
How to Protect Skin from Sun Damage
It’s not just about when you go off on vacation to far-flung hot destinations. Sun protection is all-year-round. Even when it’s cold, those UV rays don’t disappear, they’re still there, even on a cloudy day. Apply SPF 50 on all exposed areas, wear sunglasses, wear a hat and avoid hot sun from the hours of 11-4.00pm.
Here are some more sun-safe tips:
- Wear Factor 50+ sunblock. Put it on following moisturising and before make-up. Don’t just limit it to your face; put it on any areas where your skin is exposed. If you desperately want a suntan, get one from a bottle!
- If you are outside, remember to re-apply sunscreen every half an hour.
- Always apply sunscreen after swimming in an outdoor pool or the sea (and before going in of course!)
- Use a good quality body cream to keep your skin soft and supple.
- Buy a sunhat.
- Wear sunglasses that are UVA and UVB protective. A good tip is if you can see your eyes through the lenses, they aren’t strong enough for sun use.
- Have a facial before and after vacation. This helps to replace lost moisture.
- Try some sun-sensible clothing; there are styles with UPF (which is the UV protection reference for clothing). Keep clothing light and airy, cool cottons and linens are good materials to wear to protect skin on your body.
- Only expose for 20 minutes at a time.
- If you already have signs of hyperpigmentation (freckles, sun spots, dark patches), use a hyperpigmentation gel to get rid of any dark spots and prevent new ones forming. We recommend our very own Third Day Beauty Dark Spot Formula which is specifically formulated to diminish sun spots and help discourage any new hyperpigmentation.
The reality is, more people are beginning to understand why sunbathing is just not fashionable. Look at the big Hollywood greats, in fact, Kate Bosworth, JLo, Joan Collins and Rachel Zoe have flawless skin, because they always wear hats and stay out of the sun. Be like them, be careful in the sun.