Most people love the chance to top up on a tan and give their skin that healthy sun-kissed glow. Sunlight is the number one way to maintain vitamin D levels so it seems sun is great for making people look and feel better. Yet everyone is familiar with the “leathery” aging look sported by those who have obviously been avid users of the tanning salon for most of their adult lives. So how is it that although winter sun is recommended in order to keep people healthy, there are numerous warnings from health experts against the damaging rays of the sun?
The answer is understandable when considering the fact that Ultra Violet (UV) radiation levels from the sun of 3 or below provide sufficient levels of vitamin D in the body without burning or damaging the skin. UV levels are higher in the summer months than in winter months, with summer months regularly seeing UV levels greater than 3 and the opposite being true for winter months.
Sun damage occurs when high levels of UV rays are able to penetrate the layers of the skin. This causes the skin cells to suffer UV radiation, sometimes causing irreparable damage. This damage can cause the appearance of skin to age dramatically over time, changing the color and texture. When skin is burnt by the sun, a chemical reaction occurs, encouraging leakage of fluids from cells in the skin. In extreme cases this can lead to swelling and blistering. The body’s natural defense to this situation is to disperse of the damaged skin cells, thus bringing about the peeling process often associated with sun burn.
In addition to these cosmetic hazards, damaged skin cells have a greater risk of becoming cancerous. Experts say that children, fair-skinned people and pregnant women at a higher risk of this happening, especially if sunburn has occurred during childhood. With an estimated 123,590 new cases of melanoma (common form of skin cancer) being discovered in the USA alone in 2011, it is imperative that the correct care is taken to protect the skin.
Freckles and moles are extremely common for many people. Their appearance usually occurs in childhood. Whilst being harmless themselves, moles and freckles could be a sign that the owner may have some form of sun damage or that they are more likely to obtain some in the future and would do well to take extra precautionary measures.
Certain marks on the skin may be signs of skin cancer and if a person is worried about this, a doctor should be consulted.
Staying indoors between the hours of 10am and 3pm is an effective way to protect the skin from sun damage. This is because the suns UV levels are their highest during this time period. Whilst working or at school, this may be relatively easy to do, however for those who enjoy going on sunny holidays and love the look of smooth, healthy tanned skin; staying indoors might not be something they could do. The following are steps to be taken to ensure the look of sexy summer skin without putting the individual’s health at risk: