Today, we know that the sun can damage our skin immediately and long term. To help understand why this is important and what happens, you must understand the type of UV rays. There are 2 types of UV rays that reach the earth and damage skin: UVB Rays and UVA rays.
– UVB – Burning Rays: (Think of the “B” as “Burning”) – UVB rays are the burning rays that damage the skin immediately. The result of the UVB rays is a sunburn – an immediate result of sun damage. The damage is to the epidermis, the top layer of the skin, where the shorter UVB rays strike. The good news is that sunscreen has advanced since the 1970’s and can block the UVB rays preventing a sunburn. Therefore, UVB rays can be kept to a minimum by using a quality sunscreen that is applied correctly.
– UVA Rays: (Think of the “A” as “Aging”) – UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis and damage the skin over time. Because you can’t see the damage immediately, you may not realize that your skin is being damaged even without a sunburn. UVA rays also cause “liver” spots or age spots by stimulating pigment to release brown melanin. The long UVA rays destroy collagen and elastin which causes wrinkles and sagging. Age spots are a true sign of aged, damaged skin. The “healthy glow” of a tan is not very healthy can cause premature and more severe aging on your skin.
UVA rays can cause pigment producing cells to die, which leave white spots on the skin. These white spots are also known as guttate hypomelanosis. I often wondered why I had white spots on my skin and what they were. Now I know the white spots were created by sun damage and the pigment is dead in that spot. The most problematic results of UVA damage is that the rays can mutate your DNA and lead to skin cancer. The number of new cases of skin cancer each year are greater than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined. There are a few common sense things that you can do to prevent sun damage. Below are a few basic suggestions to keep the harmful rays from damaging your skin. Sun protection tips:
– Wear protective clothing and a hat
– Use an umbrella
– Invest in UV Shield for your car
– Use blinds or window coverings
– Wear a UV wristband
Sun protection is the single most important way to keep your skin young and healthy looking.Do not underestimate the damage that the sun can cause a few years down the road. Keep in mind the level of damage that the UVA and the UVB rays can do to your skin. Protect yourself today and for the future by covering up and using sunscreen.
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