How the sun can harm the skin
Staying out under the sun for long periods can cause sun damage. Also termed photodamage, the condition occurs after prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. When this happens, photodamage can happen, characterized by premature skin aging.
Though the skin uses sunlight for vitamin D synthesis, which is crucial for normal bone formation, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause major skin damage. The epidermis or the outermost layer of the skin contains melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. Melanin protects the skin from UV rays but when exposed for prolonged periods, the skin can burn and decline in elasticity, causing premature aging.
In some cases, the sun can cause the skin to produce more melanin to try to protect itself. However, the skin can darken and cause hyperpigmentation.
The common signs of sun damage or photodamage include:
• Age spots, liver spots, and freckles
• Rough and uneven skin texture
• Redness and blotchiness
• broken capillaries (spider veins) that are commonly seen around the nose and chest
How to prepare your skin for summer
Sun exposure is good for the skin, but prolonged exposure can cause damage. Here are some ways to prepare your skin for summer, reducing the risk of photodamage, sunburn, and dark spots.
Exfoliate once a week
Exfoliation involves removing the oldest skin cells from the surface of the skin. It is important to help the skin withstand the heat of the summer sun and prevent dark spots. Before your summer getaway, make sure to exfoliate once every few weeks to slough off the dead skin cells. These dead skin cells cover your smooth, radiant, and healthy skin.
Body scrubs are essential for exfoliation. Make sure to choose products that are made of natural ingredients and steer away from strong chemicals.
The key to healthy and well-protected skin is to use sunscreen every day, even if you’re indoors or on cloudy days. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your skin, and it’s essential to make sure it’s protected. Prolonged sun exposure can cause harm to the skin, including skin cancer, wrinkles, premature aging, and discoloration over time.
Choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 on regular days to prevent squamous cell carcinoma by around 40 percent, and lower your melanoma risk by as much as 50 percent. Other dermatologists recommend using sunscreens with SPF not lower than 30.
Just as important as exfoliating, keeping your skin hydrated is crucial to prevent the harmful effects of the sun. Using hydrating products and moisturizers regularly can help prepare the skin for summer. During summer days or the hot season, shift to lighter products like a light cream, lotion or serum.
You can use a non-comedogenic moisturizing product on your face to prevent clogged pores and breakouts. Make sure to moisturize all over, including using a lip balm on your lips. For your night routine, you can use a nourishing oil to hydrate the skin, such as the Nourishing Night Oil enriched with vitamin E.
Further, drink lots of water, about 8 to 10 glasses a day. Hydrating the skin from the inside is also important to prevent dehydrated skin during your beach trip. Plus, it reduces the risk of heat stroke under the scorching sun.
During summer, the oil glands on the surface of the skin are very active. The more oil is present on the skin, the more prone it is to develop breakouts.
In a study, about 60 percent of people with acne said their breakouts are far worse in summer. If you are dealing with oily skin and breakouts, introduce a toner into your skin routine. Use a mild toner to remove sweat and oil to prevent clogged pores. Before going to sleep, use a topical acne treatment to smooth out the skin’s surface and get rid of pimples.
The sun’s UV rays can cause premature aging. But, how does it happen? Oxidative stress in the skin plays a role in the aging process. Exposure to the sun is considered extrinsic aging. Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, causing the appearance of skin aging signs, such as wrinkles and fine lines.
Using antioxidants on the skin can help ward off unwanted wrinkles and skin discoloration. Some of the antioxidants you can use include products containing Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Retinol, among others.
Vitamin C can be used with your sunscreen. The two have a strong relationship as vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and it supports SPF by neutralizing the free radicals that cause sun damage. Vitamin E is also a strong antioxidant to fight premature aging and protect the skin from photodamage.
You’re skin’s summer-ready
Before hitting off the beach, make sure your skin’s ready to prevent damage and future battles with unwanted age spots. There are many ways to prepare the skin for summer, these tips should be done throughout the year, too.
Article Reviewed by Dr. Zharlah G. Flores, MD, FPDS