The sun is an important source of Vitamin D, which helps in the bone formation of your body. However, too much exposure to its ultraviolet (UV) light can cause serious harm to your skin. It is important that you become aware of how your skin functions, how the sun can damage your skin, and how you can protect it and keep it looking healthy.
Getting to Know Your Skin Better
Your skin is made up of three layers – epidermis, dermis and fat. The epidermis is what defends your skin from the UV radiation and protects you from heat and cold through a substance called keratin. It also contains cells called melanocytes, which produce melanin – the dark skin pigment that causes the tanning effect and protects your skin from burning.
The Effects of Prolonged Exposure to UV Radiation
Too much exposure to the UV rays allows it to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin damaging, if not killing, the skin cells.
When the skin is exposed to UV radiation it may develop moles, freckles and rashes. An excessive exposure to the sun for a short time can cause sunburn – the reddening or, in worst cases, blistering of the skin.
In the long term, the prolonged exposure to UV radiation accelerates skin aging and develops age spots. The skin will look dull, loose, dry and wrinkled. When taken for granted, it may cause damage to skin cells that may lead to skin cancer.
How to Protect Your Skin
You can protect your skin by covering the sensitive areas, applying sun block and limiting your sun exposure, especially during 10 AM to 2 PM where the sun and UV radiation is at its peak.
When using a sunscreen, choose those with SPF 30 or higher. Make sure that you reapply it when you’re out in the sun for more than two hours.
Covering up with sunglasses, protective clothing and a hat should also be considered when planning to stay outdoors for an extended period of time.
Always examine your skin for possible development of suspicious changes or growths if you have an existing skin injury.
Aside from providing you the needed protection from all the elements in the outside world, your skin is the first thing that people will notice at you, so make sure you keep it looking good and healthy.