Sun Damage: The Effects of the Sun | Adventuress Luxury Catamaran

Sun Damage: The Effects of the Sun

Sun Damage: The Effects of the Sun

Dec 12, 2018

You’ve been told countless times about the dangers of sun damage to your skin, but do you really know what all that tanning is doing to your body’s largest organ? Sun damage can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of time you spend out in the sun, as well as your genetics. As the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun penetrate the surface of your skin, they alter your skin’s structure, resulting in damage over time. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of sun damage and how to protect yourself. 

Common Types of Sun Damage 

The sun’s effects on your skin get worse with prolonged exposure. Here are some of the most common signs of sun damage, ranging from mild to severe. 

Dry Skin 

As you spend time out in the sun, the UV rays and heat cause your skin to lose moisture and essential oils. This can lead to dry, flaky skin and even cause premature wrinkles. You may find that your skin feels tight and itchy as well. Aloe vera gel or lotion can provide relief. Try to avoid anything scented, as the perfumes can irritate your skin even further. This symptom will typically go away once you moisturize your skin again and rehydrate your body. 

sun damage to skin

Sunburn 

Sunburn is a minor skin injury that occurs after prolonged exposure to the sun. At the milder end of the spectrum, your skin will feel hot to the touch and take on a reddish appearance. In more extreme cases, your skin may also blister and peel. Severe sunburns can even cause you to feel nauseous or lightheaded. As with dry skin, aloe vera gel can provide soothing comfort, and over-the-counter medications can quell the pain. For most people, a sunburn will fade and heal within a few days, though severe burns may take a bit longer. 

Actinic Keratosis 

Actinic keratosis presents as a small bump on your skin. The surface of the bump will typically feel scaly or rough like sandpaper. These bumps typically develop on areas of your skin that have been repeatedly sun-damaged and can be an early warning sign of skin cancer. You’ll need to see a doctor to have these bumps removed, as they will not go away on their own. It is also a good idea to have your doctor conduct a biopsy to rule out skin cancer. Cryotherapy is a common treatment for actinic keratosis. This treatment involves freezing the affected area with liquid nitrogen to remove the bump. Bumps can be removed surgically or through microdermabrasion, laser treatments or topical ointments as well. 

Long-Term Collagen Changes 

Over time, UV radiation can damage the overall structure of the collagen in your skin cells. This leads to premature aging of the skin, including fine lines, deeper wrinkles and loose skin. It also damages the tiny blood vessels just under your skin, making them more fragile and causing you to bruise more easily. While it is virtually impossible to reverse the effects of aging, you can minimize their visibility with anti-aging skin care products, particularly those containing collagen and retinol. Cosmetic treatments, including Botox and other fillers, can also minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, though these aren’t permanent solutions. 

Protecting Your Skin from Sun Damage 

Of course, the best way to treat sun damage is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place. Here’s how to do it right. 

Sunscreen 

Every time you will be outside for more than a few minutes, you should apply sunscreen to any areas of your skin that are exposed. If you expect to be active or will be enjoying water activities, choose a water-resistant variety with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Make sure that the sunscreen you choose provides protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays. 

Once you are outdoors, it is a good idea to reapply your sunscreen about every two hours. If you are swimming or exercising, you should reapply as soon as you dry off. Don’t forget to take care of your lips as well. Use a lip balm with SPF 15 or higher, and reapply often. The skin on your lips is much thinner than on other areas of your body, so it needs a bit of extra care. 

Clothing 

When choosing your outfit for a day out in the sun, it can be tempting to wear skimpy clothing to beat the heat. However, this exposes your skin to sun damage. Instead, wear loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs. Lighter colors are best, as they don’t absorb light the way darker colors do. This will keep you cooler even though your skin is covered. 

Accessories are important as well, so don’t forget a hat and sunglasses. Your hat should have a large enough brim to provide shade on at least your face. If you can find one that covers your ears and the back of your neck as well, you’ll have the most protection. When choosing sunglasses, be sure to pick a pair that provides 100-percent UV protection. Not all sunglasses do, particularly at lower price points, so don’t forget to check before you buy! 

Other Considerations 

In general, those with fair skin are more at risk of sun damage than those with darker skin, so you’ll need to take extra precautions if you are on the paler side. Of course, dark-skinned people can still be affected by sun damage, so don’t take that as an excuse to skip the sunscreen if your skin is darker. 

The time of day plays a role in sun damage as well. The hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. typically see the sun at its strongest, so try to avoid prolonged exposure during this time. If you do go out during peak hours, be vigilant about reapplying sunscreen to keep yourself protected. 

Finally, keep regular appointments with your doctor or dermatologist to check your skin for signs of sun damage. Conduct regular skin inspections yourself as well to alert you to any changes right away. 

Enjoy Some Fun in the Sun with Adventuress Luxury Catamaran 

Once you have slathered on that sunscreen and donned your hat and sunglasses, you’re ready for a fun adventure out on the open seas with Adventuress Luxury Catamaran. We offer exciting tours out of the San Diego Bay, so get in touch with us today to book an excursion with us!