Hello, summer. A season that’s all about having fun under the sun!
You do love the bright days and blue skies, don’t you? That’s probably because your body is built to make the best use of the sun. What an incredible feeling it is to bask in the glory of the sun and soak in all the benefits that it has to offer you. Not only does sunlight keep your sleeping patterns on track, ward off depression but it also helps your skin create Vitamin D—so vital for normal bone function and health.
Quite a few reasons to keep your head turned towards the sun, isn’t it? But have you factored in the damages that sunlight can cause? Because it’s true, make no mistake –sunlight can cause damage too!
As summertime is in full swing, here’s what you should know about how to keep your skin healthy in summer before you throw caution to the wind and let your hair down.
Let’s start with the basics.
Negative effects of the summer sun: What are they?
If you’re only worried about getting a tan or two due to the excessive sunlight, then you’ve got other problems arising. Sun damage goes beyond just what is visible to the naked eye. Actual damage by the sun is caused below the surface. Repeated or extensive exposure to the sun’s damaging rays can have a lasting effect. Some of the effects include:
- Acute and chronic issues: Exposing the skin to UV wavelengths in sunlight stimulates systemic immunosuppression, which affects the immune system in a great way.
- Exposure to pollution: It is said that your skin is exposed to ground-level ozone that can lead to premature aging of the skin and increased sensitivity. Coming in contact with the sun, in turn, exposes your skin to ground-level ozone that depletes the antioxidants from the stratum corneum, the top layer of the skin.
- Skin cancer: Frequent or prolonged exposure to the sun’s damaging rays may lead to an increase in the risk of skin cancer. This is because, the sun’s UV rays can permanently damage cells, destroy healthy tissue, and obstruct the cellular regeneration process.
- Immune health risks: Sun damage can have a huge bearing on your immune system, lowering your body’s natural defense, which leaves you more susceptible to other illnesses and infections.
- Cosmetic changes: Overexposure to the sun can result in the skin developing permanent fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, moles, as well as dry and dehydrated skin.
- Lifeless tresses: Sun affects not just your skin but hair too. Signs of sun damage to your hair include discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning, and fizziness. Damaged hair has a dry look and feel.
- Sun allergy: It is an abnormal reaction to the combined action of certain substances and exposure to sun rays.
- Premature aging: Overexposure can sometimes lead to loss of moisture and elasticity, making lines and wrinkles more pronounced.
Are there any effective ways to spot signs of skin damage?
To get an answer to one of your most frequent questions, ‘how can I protect my face from the sun, it’s important to first identify the most common signs of sun damage. Visible marks, spots, burns, and signs of aging are some of the most common causes of the summer sun on your skin. But are you focusing on the signs or just ignoring them? Here are some signs that you should always watch out for.
- Age spots: Discoloured and small, age spots are flat dark areas on your skin that can commonly appear after prolonged sun exposure. These tend to get darker and show up more often with age.
- Atypical moles: More often, UV radiation leads to the development of atypical moles on your skin. While some may get worse as they start showing irregular borders or uneven surfaces, others can lead to changes in skin color, itching, and bleeding.
- Sunburns: Sunburns can be a common thing, but that doesn’t make them ideal for your skin. Too much time under the sun can cause your skin to turn red, feel painful, warm to the touch, and lead to itchiness to the extent where your skin may begin to peel off.
- Actinic keratoses: Resembling warts or horns, this condition leads to rough and scaly patches on the skin. They even cause raised bumps that can show up on your face, ears, scalp, ears, arms, neck, and hands.
- Rosacea: This skin condition occurs when sun rays harm the small blood vessels under your skin, resulting in red blotches and bumps on your face.
- Wrinkles: Exposure to sunlight rays, the fibers that maintain firm skin, speed up the wrinkling process, and make your face look aged beyond years.
Simply understanding the extent of skin damage due to sunlight isn’t enough. What’s more important is gauging the negative effects of it, looking for and implementing summer skincare tips that keep your skin sun-safe during this season.
What are the best summer tips for the skin?
It is very important to know how to prevent skin tanning in summer. Beauty is skin deep, but some of you mistake it for being ‘sun deep’, which is why you face the sun without any skin protection like it’s nobody’s business. But amidst all of this, you tend to forget one of the most basic but important things. Preventive care can make a huge difference in your skin health.
- Cleansing: There’s no better thing like cleansing your skin when it comes to protecting it from sunlight. Great cleansing can come from the best cleanser. So, choose a gentle, non-abrasive, alcohol-free cleaner for your face
- Exfoliating: Due to continuous sun exposure, the buildup of dead cells on the outermost skin cell layers may lead to uneven or blotchy skin. Hence, exfoliating your skin can be beneficial at such times. Exfoliating can remove the dead skin cells from your skin, reverse the sun damage, and improve your skin’s texture
- Moisturizing: Just like your body needs water, your skin needs the right moisturizing treatment to stay hydrated. Reversing the damage done to the skin due to the sun isn’t easy. But moisturizing can help your skin get there. You can use moisturizers that work on sensitive, tanned skin, or opt for skin masks that penetrate through the skin, hydrate it, and give your skin a lease of life. Remember to choose a product as per your skin type and give your skin the dose of nourishment that it needs
- Removing makeup: Makeup can make you look good, but other than that, it doesn’t really have much to offer. Sometimes, the chemicals or ingredients within makeup can damage your skin and lead to more skin issues when directly in contact with the sun. Hence, while opting for makeup essentials, be wary of buying products that are natural. Also, don’t forget to remove your makeup before hitting the bed. No matter how sleepy you are, remove the makeup and then take your nap
- Limiting time in the sun: Staying out of direct sunlight, especially at peak sun exposure hours is the best way to avoid sun damage. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays are the strongest when the sun is overhead between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try and avoid stepping out during these hours. If you can’t avoid being out, take breaks from direct sunlight by seeking shade under trees, umbrellas, or going indoors periodically. This gives your skin the rest and recuperation time it needs.
- Wearing protective clothing: This is one of the best summer tips for skin. If you’re out in the sun, cove up as much as you can. Try wearing light layers, dark colors, long sleeves, hats, scarves, sunglasses, and gloves. All of these provide an added layer of protection from the sun’s rays.
- Avoiding reflective surfaces: Did you know that reflective surfaces, such as water, snow, and sand, increase your risk of sun damage, reflecting up to 85% of the sun’s rays? Avoid them or cover up exposed body parts to protect your skin.
- Applying sunscreen: Wondering how you can protect your face from the sun? Use a lightweight SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen on the face, hands, and other areas exposed to sunlight. Sunscreen protects your skin against UVA and UVB and keeps skin wrinkles, damage, tanning at bay. Spread it over your skin for about 15 to 30 minutes before going outside, use sweat and water-resistant sunscreen for swimming, and reapply it every one and a half hours.
Which are the must-have ingredients in skincare products?
- Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA): AHAs are known to be great exfoliators for the skin. They prevent acne breakouts, promote collagen and blood flow, decrease the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and brighten your skin.
- Hyaluronic Acid: Known to increase skin cell production, hyaluronic acid protects your skin from excessive sun damage and keeps the skin hydrated. When your skin is hydrated, it becomes smoother and plumper—thanks to hyaluronic acid.
- Ceramides: Ceramides act as soldiers for your skin. They protect it from external factors like pollution, dust, dirt, and other irritants. Ceramides help your skin retain the necessary moisture. When the ratio of ceramides is uneven, it can lead to dryness, irritation, and itching.
Summer does turn out to be a busy time after the long winter slumber. But that is no reason for any of you to neglect one of the most important factors of the summer season – sun protection. And now that you have the answers to some important questions like how to protect your skin from sun damage and some effective summer skincare tips, adhere to what has been advised, stay safe, and have a radiant summer ahead!