The Effects of Sun Damage – Paying a High Price for Sun-Kissed Skin
Not long ago, many body conscious people from Hollywood starlets to spring-breaking college students worshiped at the alter of the Sun. Showcasing a bronzed, sun-kissed body was considered the epitome of sex appeal, youth and vitality.
Not so much anymore.
These days, especially in Hollywood, folks are coming to grips with the irony of tanning. While the short-term effect of a golden tan does lend itself to a healthy glow, the long-term effects are far from healthy. Sometimes there is a high price to pay for immediate gratification, and when it comes to tanning, this couldn’t be more true. The future returns of sun damage are polar opposites of youth, health and beauty.
Over the years, when you’re overexposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays, the cumulative effective can range from a few cosmetic nuisances to more serious problems, such as cancer.
Here’s the ugly truth about sun damage – just a few ways too much sun can affect your appearance and most importantly, your health.
4 Damaging Effects of The Sun
1. Photoaging. Simply put, photoaging refers to early aging of the skin. Unprotected sun exposure is a leading cause of this. The result of premature aging is coarse, leathery looking skin, deep wrinkles, and saggy, bagging skin. People with a fair complexion are at highest risk because they have less melanin pigment, which means easy burning and less tanning. Regardless of your skin type, however, it’s a recipe for premature aging.
UVA rays of the sun are the biggest contributor to photoaging. These rays aren’t filtered and absorbed by the ozone and can penetrate to the layer of the skin that supports elasticity and tone. Once this layer is damaged, though you may not see the effects for years to come, the result is looking older than you really are.
2. Unsightly blood vessels near the surface of the skin. The scientific name for this is telangiectases. You’ve undoubtedly seen this condition. It’s often referred to as spider veins which commonly appear on the face and legs.
Though telangiectasis from the sun causes no serious effect, it’s a cosmetic concern for many as it contributes to a fragile, older look.
3. Epidermal pigmentation. This is simply lighter or darker areas of skin that are the result of hypopigmentation (too little pigment) or hyperpigmentation (too much pigment). When it comes to sun damage, usually the pigmentation shows up as unappealing darker patches of skin, especially on the face where it is easily noticed.
4. Carcinogenesis. Though the above effects of the sun are detriments to a youthful appearance, the most serious consequence of unprotected sun exposure is skin cancer. And while it’s true that a predisposition to skin cancer can be hereditary, the most common cause is UV damage. UV rays from the sun affect the DNA of skin cells to the extent that they become cancerous.
The three types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Melanoma is by far the most critical, yet can largely be avoided with smart strategies when enjoying sun and fun. And don’t make the mistake of thinking tanning beds are an alternative to the sun. Melanoma doesn’t discriminate between artificial rays and the real thing.
Strategies for Avoiding Sun Damage
Now that you know the effects of sun damage, the first line defense is to make sure you protect yourself with a sun block with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 when you’re outdoors. This will give you sun protection for 300 minutes before you need to reapply. In addition, avoid sunning between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. The sun’s rays are most dangerous during these hours.
Also, wear a hat for extra protection of delicate areas such as the scalp and face.
If you’re living with sun-damaged skin right now, there is good news. Safe and effective solutions are available to transform your looks, starting today. Our Obagi products are a fantastic solution for photoaged skin. To find out more, simply visit Vivia Center to discover how you can “undo” much of the skin damage you may have right now.