People love the sun. They worship the sun. No kidding. They call themselves, literally, “sun worshippers.”
The sun can be considered the source of life, giving vital energy to the earth so that plants may grow, and the circle of life can thrive. People have looked upon the sun as a deity.
Basking in the sun’s glory makes most people feel good. By boosting the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin, it can boost our mood, helping us to feel calm and focused.
In the short term, it seems to make us look good for a little while, too. But that benefit is short-lived and the negative side-effects far surpass the good.
What’s Wrong With the Sun
Sadly, sun exposure is responsible for most of the skin changes that are commonly tied with signs of aging. Research shows that UV exposure is the reason behind 80% of your skin’s aging, showing up as wrinkles, dark spots, and other problem areas, adding years to your looks.
In the short term, the sun’s heat dries out areas of unprotected skin and depletes the skin’s supply of natural lubricating oils. It can also cause burns. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When elastin fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose the ability to go back into place after stretching. It also bruises and tears more easily – taking longer to heal.
Aside from the immediate, obviously-painful sunburn, damage from the sun will not be noticeable until later in life.
Common Types of Sun Damage
- Dry Skin: Skin exposed to the sun can gradually lose moisture and oils, making it appear dry, flaky, and prematurely wrinkled.
- Sunburn: This is nothing to joke about. It’s actually a skin injury that results from a UV radiation burn. Damage can range from painful reddening of the skin to vesicles (fluid-filled bumps) or larger blisters.
- Actinic keratosis: This pre-cancerous tiny bump feels like sandpaper or a small, scaly patch of skin that has a pink, red, yellow, or brownish tint. It doesn’t usually go away unless it’s frozen, chemically-treated, or removed by a doctor. Actinic keratosis develops in areas of skin that have undergone repeated or long-term exposure to the sun’s UV light, and it is a warning sign of increased risk of skin cancer. According to Harvard Health, about 10% to 15% of actinic keratoses eventually change into squamous cell cancers of the skin.
- Cancers: Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma lesions develop because of the decrease in the skin’s immune function.
- Signs of Aging: fine and coarse wrinkles, freckles, age spots (sun spots), mottled pigmentation, and sallowness (yellow discoloration) appear as a result of changes to the pigment cells and the destruction of the collagen and elastin tissues. Collagen is the structural protein that supports the walls of the skin’s tiny blood vessels.
Preventing Sun Damage
Preventing damage from the sun is simple: avoid the sun.
That’s easier said than done.
But the hard truth of the matter is that any amount of sun exposure could potentially damage your skin, so protecting yourself is as simple as watching how you prepare for your time in the sun.
- Limit your time outside to when the sun is not at its peak (10am to 3pm).
- Be sure to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above before going outside (preferably about 20 minutes before to allow it time to soak in). A broad-spectrum product will cover you for both UV-A and UV-B rays. You should reapply it every two hours, or more often if you’re sweating.
- Don’t forget your lips! Choose a formula specially formulated for them with a sun protection factor of 20 or more.
- Cover your eyes, too, with UV light protected glasses.
- If possible, wear long pants and sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Read your labels. Some medications can increase your risk of UV damage. Certain skin care products (like those containing alpha-hydroxy acids) can make you more vulnerable, too.
Can You Repair Sun Damage?
While it’s not possible to erase all of the damage, there are some steps you can take to help. For instance, applying a moisturizer to parched skin can help to replace moisture and aid in repairing the skin’s barrier. Applying products and undergoing treatments geared towards helping to smooth wrinkles could reduce the severity. Beta-carotene, retinoids, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy would fall into this category. Once again, a few of these treatments may be effective in relieving your age spots.
Fast Relief of Sunburn
There is one product that stands out from the crowd: Sciaessential’s best selling oil: DELTA-5. The anti-inflammatory and moisturizing effects have the ability to soothe and heal your skin from minor sunburn and other types of burns. The healing potential comes from sciadonic acid (SA), which has been said to be more potent than hyaluronic acid, which has been a staple in the beauty industry for years. SA has major anti-inflammatory properties. The tocopherols are deeply moisturizing, allowing the oil to penetrate the skin quickly and deeply for a greaseless effect, leaving you feeling more smooth, supple, and less painful within just 24 hours of use.