Why does the sun damage my skin? Why does the sun damage my skin?

Why does the sun damage my skin?

By Donna White

Why does the sun damage my skin? Why does the sun damage my skin?

The sun's rays make us feel good, and in the short term, a tan looks good.

But sun exposure causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on the face.

A glowing complexion is associated with good health, but colour obtained from the sun’s rays accelerates the effects of ageing and increases the risk of skin cancer.

Which is why our All Day Long! advanced lightweight daily moisturiser includes sun block. This certified sun protection factor 50 has an added combination of clinically proven filters to protect against the harmful effects of UV rays.

Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes which are a normal part of ageing. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibres in the skin called elastin.

When those fibres break down, the skin sags, stretches, and loses its ability to go back into place. The skin also bruises and tears more easily -- taking longer to heal.

While sun damage may not be obvious when you're young, it will definitely show on the skin later in life.

Exposure to the sun causes:

  • wrinkles
  • freckles
  • discoloured skin, known as mottled pigmentation
  • sallow yellow discoloration
  • elastosis -- the destruction of the elastic and collagen tissue

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer, but UV light from tanning beds is just as harmful. Exposure to sunlight during Winter provides the same risk as exposure during Summer because UVA rays are present in daylight.

Cumulative sun exposure causes mainly basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer, while episodes of severe sunburn can raise the risk of developing melanoma.

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can repair itself with on-going sun protection. So, it's never too late to start. With age, the skin sweats less and takes longer to heal, but you can delay the effects of ageing – and reduce the chances of developing skin cancer – by following these five simple steps:

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater (for UVB protection) and zinc oxide (for UVA protection) 20 minutes before sun exposure and every 2 hours
  • Look out for UV protection in clothing, cosmetic products, and contact lenses
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak times of 10am-2pm
  • Examine the skin regularly