As the weather gets warmer, you may want to join the bandwagon and sport a shimmery, bronzed complexion by soaking up the sun. However, sun tanning is not always a good idea. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “safe tanning.” You don’t have to take our word for it. Ask several dermatologists so you’ll find out how much they harmonize our opinion.
What is Sun Tanning?
Sun tanning is the process by which the skin is forced to darken as a result of UV exposure from direct sunlight or artificial sources such as indoor tanning lamps and beds. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the epidermis and trigger melanocytes to produce more melanin, which is the pigment that brings color to the skin.
Why is Sun Tanning Dangerous?
Melanin functions as an umbrella for your skin. Developing a tan is a sign that your skin is attempting to shield it from further damage. Basking in the sun all day long won’t cause your skin to feel tingly just yet. You will only witness surface effects of sun exposure to boot. However, it is very likely that damage is already taking place underneath the top layer of your skin.
Understand that sun damage builds up over time. Hence, even occasional tanning sessions can lead to unwanted consequences over the course of time. Tanning lamps and beds are not without risk. In fact, they expose you to UVB light, which is even more harmful.
Dangers of Sun Tanning
Lusting over a sun-kissed complexion is not worth it if the trade-offs are the following:
Also known as sunburn, it is the most common sign of sun damage. When UV rays assault the epidermis, the immune system reacts by increasing blood flow to the affected areas. At the same time, it directs white blood cell to attack and remove the damaged skin cells. That is why sunburn is characterized by peeling, itching, redness, and a stinging sensation. Sunburn is a short-term skin damage that can be alleviated by cool baths and cold creams. However, it weakens your skin, causing it to become even more susceptible to sun damage. Studies show that skin cancer is often rooted in sunburns.
Aging is an essential part of life and we should embrace it gracefully. But just because it is inevitable, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hang onto our youthful charms as long as we could! Unfortunately, UV exposure causes premature skin aging or photoaging. When UV rays penetrate the skin, it breaks down collagen and elastin fibers that are responsible for keeping our skin smooth and bouncy. Without these fibers, your skin becomes less resilient. It will appear loose, wrinkly, and leathery-textured.
Dermabrasions, skin fillers, and plastic surgery are effective solutions but they cost an arm and a leg. The wisest thing to do is to incorporate a good quality anti-aging cream into your skincare regimen. Aside from UV radiation, free radicals, pollution, poor food choices also contribute to the problem. An anti-aging cream helps reverse the damage caused by environmental aggressors, keeping your youthful glow as much as possible.
According to studies, sun exposure increases your risk of cataracts. It is an eye disease that involves in the clouding of your eyes’ natural lens, causing pain and decreased vision that could possibly escalate to blindness.
UV radiation promotes skin cancer by mutating the DNA in skin cells, causing malignant growths. Although predisposition to skin cancer can be hereditary, the American Cancer Society confirms that there is also a strong evidence indicating that UV radiation can lead to skin cancer. In fact, more than a million patients diagnosed with cancer are sun-related. The most common form of cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which is characterized by tumors that randomly spread across the body. The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma, which accounts for a majority of deaths. It is characterized by itchy, bleeding lesions that don’t heal.
How Do I Prevent Sun Damage?
Of course, we don’t suggest you stay indoors while your friends enjoy a sunny afternoon. There are many simple ways to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays.
1. Never skip out on sunscreen
Whether it sizzles or drizzles, always wear sunscreen before you walk out of the door. Choose a sunscreen that has SPF 30 or above. Be sure to apply it generously on your face, ears, legs, or any area that is vulnerable to the sun.
2. Apply moisturizer and lotion daily
The sun’s UV rays are among the sneakiest skin dehydrators. Take note: dry skin is susceptible to damage. So, combat the sun’s drying effects by applying a facial moisturizer and body lotion. Doing so not only quenches a thirsty complexion, but it also provides a protective barrier against environmental aggressors.
Sublime Skin Lab offers a collection of skin-nourishing moisturizers and lotions that caters to varying skin types. They also have an array of correction creams that targets hyperpigmentation such as sunspots, freckles, etc. So, be sure to check them out!
3. Limit sun exposure
The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 AM to 3 PM. So, you better avoid the sun during these hours. Otherwise, be sure to wear protective clothing.
4. Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants and phytochemicals that strengthens skin. Citrus fruits, in particular, are incredibly rich in vitamin C that promotes collagen production, protects collagen and elastin fibers, scavenges free radicals, and reverses oxidative damage. Papaya, squash, and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A that brightens the skin and makes it more resilient against UV-induced damage.
Taking care of your skin doesn’t mean you have to miss out a lot of things next summer! You can enjoy the great outdoors in a responsible way. Sun damage is very serious, so we advise that you take the necessary precautions.