Your Skin in This Weather: Sun, Sun & More Sun
Things to watch out for in the Summer that affect your skin:
When ultraviolet light penetrates the epidermis it stimulates melanin, the substance responsible for skin pigmentation. Up to a point, the melanin absorbs dangerous UV rays before they can do serious damage. Higher UV exposure overcomes the skin’s natural ability to protect itself and causes sunburn.
Sun’s UV rays: Silent, but ultra violent
The sun emits two types of harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis and lead to wrinkles, age spots and skin cancers. UVB rays are cause sunburn, cataracts and immune system damage. Melanoma is thought to be associated with severe UVB sunburns that occur before the age of 20.
The premature aging of the skin from ultraviolet light exposure is called Photoaging. It occurs when ultraviolet radiation penetrates deep into the dermis, damaging collagen fibres and causes the increased production of abnormal elastin. This breakdown in fundamental skin structures leads to deep wrinkles, fine lines, discoloration, rough leathery textures and sagging skin.
The difference between sunscreen and sunblock.
Sunscreens absorb ultraviolet light so that it doesn’t reach the skin. A Sunblock literally blocks the UV rays instead of absorbing them. Remember, no sunscreen works 100%. There’s also no such thing as ‘waterproof’ or ‘All-day Protection’ sunscreen. All Sunscreens have a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number that tells you how long you can stay in the sun without getting burnt. However, no matter what the SPF number, sunscreens need to be re-applied every 2 to 3 hours. UV rays even pass through clouds so you need to wear sunscreen, every day and in any type of weather.
How to look after your skin summer.
- Pick sunscreens that say ‘broad spectrum’ as they protect you against UVA and UVB rays.
- Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF rating of 15.
- Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you head out into the sun to give it time to seep into the skin.
- Apply sunscreens liberally. Use at least one ounce to cover the entire body.
- Use a lip balm with SPF 15 or greater to protect the lips from sun damage.
- Re-apply sunscreen immediately after going into water or sweating.
- Re-apply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours.
- Use sunscreen every day regardless of the weather.
- Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays.
- Wear wide-brimmed hats and protective clothing and stay in the shade whenever possible to limit skin exposure to the sun.
- Avoid using tanning beds.
How to treat sunburn?
The first thing to do is to get out of the sun and cover the exposed skin as soon as possible. The effects of sunburn begin to appear within 4 to 6 hours after getting out of the sun and will fully appear within 12 to 24 hours. Mild burns cause redness and some peeling after a few days. Treat them with treated with cold compresses on the damaged area, cool baths, moisturizers to prevent dryness and over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams to relieve any pain or itching. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids when you experience any type of sunburn. More serious burns lead to painful blisters. Don’t rupture blisters as it slows down the natural healing process and causes infection. Cover blisters with gauze to keep them clean and stay out of the sun until your skin has fully healed. In severe cases, oral steroids may be prescribed to prevent or eliminate infection along with pain-relieving medication.
If you want to reduce the effects of sun exposure or get a treatment for sever sunburn, please contact a dermatologist at the Derma One centre in Manama, Bahrain.