Going out in the sun without adequate sun protection can increase your risk of sun damage – also known as photo damage. Sun damage appears in two ways – chromic photo damage results in a cosmetic change in the skin’s appearance, such as the fine and coarse wrinkles that can appear with too much sun exposure. Acute sun damage manifests as sunburn – painful, long-lasting and very harmful to the skin’s overall health.
All the evidence points to ultraviolent light as the root cause of many of these changes. The sun emits two types of ultraviolet rays – UVA and UVB – both of which harm the skin in different ways. UVA rays are the ones which lead to premature signs of ageing, while UVB causes pesky sunburn and causes damage to the skin cells. Too much exposure to either can play a part in causing skin cancer (also known as melanoma).
Protecting your skin against UVA and UVB rays
SPF generally measures protection against sunburn caused primarily by UVB rays – but it’s important to ensure your sunscreen or skincare products also protect against UVA rays. These types of sunscreens tend to be labelled ‘broad spectrum’, and are available as dedicated sun protection products, as well as daily moisturisers and lotions.
Experts recommend wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen every day to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Even if you don’t feel like your skin sees much of the sun, the small amounts of exposure every day can built up over time. If you’re going to be in the sun for a long period of time, apply generous amounts of sunscreen every two hours, and always choose a sunscreen that offers an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher.
We recommend that you consult your dermatologist or physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.