As each day gets warmer, you may find yourself being outside more often than you used to. While being outside is good for you for various reasons, being constantly exposed to the heat of the sun unprotected is not.
In the United States, skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. About 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with it and unprotected sun exposure is one of the culprits.
Effects of unprotected sun exposure
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light makes the skin bruise and tear easily. Each time the skin is exposed under the sun without any form of protection, it takes longer to heal. With the decrease in the skin’s immune function, pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions can easily develop.
Aside from skin cancer, unprotected sun exposure also speeds up your skin’s aging process. The UV light damages your skin’s elastin, the fibers that keep it flexible and resilient. When these fibers are damaged, it can cause your skin to stretch, sag, and lose its ability to resume to their shape after stretching or contracting.
These effects may not be more apparent while you’re younger, but they will definitely show up as years pass by. They can cause fine and coarse wrinkles, mottled skin pigmentation, and freckles.
Who should use sunscreen
Everyone! Men and women, including children over the age of 6 months should use sunscreen on a daily basis.
Sunscreen should be used even on cloudy days! About 80 percent of the sun’s rays still make it to the ground even on a cloudy day.
Choosing the type of sunscreen to use
The type of sunscreen to use is the one that will protect against all UV rays and is “broad spectrum” (provides The type of sunscreen to use is the one that will protect against all Rays, Broadspectrum (provides protection from both UVA/UVB). There are two types of sunscreens, physical and chemical. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are physical sunscreens that help reflect the UV rays from penetrating the skin. Chemical sunscreens include Oxybenzone and avobenzone and help absorb the UV rays and break them down prior to damaging the skin.
Make sure to use a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 or higher if you’re staying or working outdoors for extended periods of time.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you head outside. This provides ample time for your skin to absorb it. Then make sure to re-apply it every 2 hours of exposure and immediately after swimming or sweating excessively.
If you want a bronze glow in the summer, self-tanners and spray tans are a much safer option than baking your skin in the sun. You can still get that summer glow without the damaging effects from the sun.
Premier Surgical Plastic Surgery in Knoxville offers a variety of products to enhance and protect your precious skin. Call (865) 306-5680 to request a skincare consultation with Paytan, our Licensed Aesthetician.