Sun Damage Sources

Submitted by Patrick Hatfield on Wed, 08/01/2018 - 7:30 am

The sun is the largest object in the solar system.  UVB rays from the sun are the cause of sunburn to the skin.  UVA rays play a role in skin cancer formation and they help with premature skin aging.  Blocking both types of these rays is necessary to keep your skin healthy and protected.  This means being aware that sun damage occurs in a variety of places other than the expected beaches and parks.  Here are a few places that sun damage can occur:             

The Car – When you are in your car driving, you may forget that you are vulnerable to the sun.  Being in your own bubble with your own personal thermostat may allow you to feel protection, but the glass in your windows is only protecting you from UVB rays.  Therefore, you must lather up with sunscreen for those long drives.

Clouds are not Safe – Many people think when the sun is covered by clouds it can’t burn you.  This is a very false statement, as UV rays can bust through the clouds and still cause skin damage.  Those with fair skin are the most susceptible to skin damage under these conditions.

Your Eyes – We tend to forget that our eyes are vulnerable to the sun as well as our skin.  This is why the use of sunglasses is essential when you are out in the sun.  When the eye is sunburnt it can cause a line in your vision that can last for days.

Fragrance – Watch out for certain fragrances that contain sensitizing chemicals that can increase your chance of being burnt.  Essential oils like lavender, bergamot, and sandalwood can cause hyperpigmentation and skin irritation when sunlight hits by increasing sensitivity.

What you Eat – Even what you eat can change your sensitivity to the sun.  If your body is lacking the vitamin niacin, which comes from foods like meat, peanuts, grains, and mushrooms, it can become photosensitive.  There are also foods like limes, parsley, and celery that can result in sunburn-like reactions to your skin.

 Your Lips – Don’t forget your lips.  The fine lines in your lips are just as susceptible as any other area on your body and it is often overlooked.  Try to use a lip balm that contains SPF and provides moisture to keep your lips healthy and hydrated.

Watch your Medications – Be aware that some medications like antibiotics, birth control, antidepressants and even acne treating products can cause the skin to be photosensitive.  Be prepared to use extra sunscreen if you are taking certain medications.

Obviously, sunscreen is an essential component of healthy and protected skin.  Make sure to use it generously throughout the year, even when the sun isn’t always shining.  Use at least 30 SPF or the product may not be truly effective.  Reapply sunscreen after two hours of time in the sun or after swimming or heavily sweating.  Make sure your sunscreen is applied at least 30 minutes prior to heading to the beach, because it needs time to be absorbed by the skin to work properly.