Welcome to Part One of the Sunshine Series!
Here we go… it’s a weighty topic this one… there’s lots to cover (and I’m no dermatologist) so I’m going to try and keep things simplified with some basic stuff and an overview of your skin + sun. Plus, it's being broken into a three part series!
☀ SUN RAYS
The sun rays have three main categories:
(UV stands for ultraviolet, told you we were going back to the basics… 😉)
rays are the shortest and basically don’t reach earths atmosphere, which is good coz the shorter the wavelength the more harmful the UV radiation is! UVC is basically absorbed by the ozone layer… So let’s not worry about these ones anymore
rays are the second shortest and the main culprit of sunburn as they’re abundant in natural sunlight. A lot of these rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, but they still get through.
These rays have the largest effect on the top layer of skin (epidermis*) and can harm your skin in as little as 15 mins of sun exposure. However, their intensity fluctuates, the rays are stronger (and pose the most risk) late-morning to mid-afternoon (sit under a tree between 11-3)
UVB rays cause tanning, redness, burning, blisters and skin cancer.
rays are the longest and make up the majority of UV radiation getting into our atmosphere.
These rays cause skin aging, eg sun spots, wrinkles etc reaching deeper into our skin (through to the dermis layer) causing genetic damage to the cells. They can tan your skin pretty much straight away, which is your skins way of trying to protect itself and prevent further damage by darkening it.
UVA is the main type of light used in most tanning / sun beds.
Unlike UVB rays they maintain the same level of strength during daylight hours, so we’re all exposed to high levels of UVA during our entire lifetime.
Unlike UVB and UVC rays UVA rays penetrate glass and clouds, meaning even if it’s overcast or you’re inside, they can still cause your skin harm. Let’s say that again.
Even it it’s overcast or you’re inside, UVA rays still cause your skin harm
Let that sink in. This is why we need to protect our skin every single day even if it doesn’t look sunny out
*need a refresher in skin science? Have a read of this article
☀ CONSEQUENCES OF SUN DAMAGE
There are short and long term consequences to sun damage.
Lets start with Photoaging – the more “cosmetic” effects of the sun. Everyone is susceptible to photoaging and it depends on how much unprotected sun exposure you’ve had over time. In general, lighter skin is more susceptible to photoaging and cancer, but please don’t take that to mean if you have darker (more melanin in your) skin you’re immune. You’re not.
Photoaging symptoms include:
- Age spots (dark spots)
- Rough, uneven skin texture
- Broken blood vessels
- Leathery texture to skin
- Drooping skin (loss of elasticity)
None of the above are something you’d be actively aiming for right??
Over time, your skin will become dry, dull and uneven; the sun depletes your skin of its essential fatty acids, destroys the collagen and elastin; leaving you looking and feeling dry, flaky and wrinkled.
This is why it's so important to have a healthy skin care routine, every day living impacts our skin, so we need to replenish is! Not sure what products are best for you? Take the Skin Quiz to discover your own personalised routine and receive tips and key ingredients to look for!
Ok, so now on to the more serious, life- threatening area…
Remember when I said that UVA rays cause genetic damage to your skin cells? That basically means its damaging your DNA. Enough damage and the cells start to grow out of control which can lead to skin cancer.
Remember: even it it’s overcast or you’re inside, UVA rays still cause your skin harm
Getting sunburnt increases your risk of cancer
☀ PROTECT YOURSELF
Oki doki, now we have a handle on how the sun actually damages our skin and what UV means, let’s have a look at how to protect ourselves from it!
According to Cancer Research UK:
9 out of 10 cases of melanoma skin cancer could be prevented by enjoying the sun safely.
Here are their top tips:
- Spend time in the shade: umbrellas, trees or go inside!
- Cover up: loose clothing, wide brimmed hat, UV blocking sunglasses
- Using sunscreen – on the areas you can’t cover up – face, legs, hands, arms etc
Sunscreen obviously isn’t the only way to protect your skin… but it’s definitely helpful for those areas we can’t cover up. But what SPF number should you get??
Part Two of The Sunshine Series will look at:
- Reef Friendly ingredients
- Different type of sunscreen
If you fancy a chat about anything you've read about here come find us on Instagram, where you can DM, comment or just check out the behind the scenes fun and product tips!
Peace & Love
Founder, Lucky Cloud Skincare
All content within this blog is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Lucky Cloud Skincare is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this site. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health