Sunscreen and Skin Protection
Good sun care practice is of paramount importance in maintaining healthy skin and a youthful appearance. Protecting your skin from sunburn is not only to avoid discomfort or painful burns; excessive sun exposure causes the skin to age prematurely, an effect that is particularly evident in the face. Dermatologists (skin doctors) indicate that prolonged exposure to sunlight causes:
- Dark spots (hyperpigmentation)
- Red, scaly spots
- Dehydration and drying
- Red, scaly spots
- Fine Lines and Wrinkles
- Skin cancer
Despite the increasingly well-known dangers of sun exposure, however, many people do not adequately protect their skin due to ignorance, laziness, or the myth that a tanned appearance makes us look healthier.(In Asian cultures, pale skin is seen as a sign of health.)
Melanin, the protective pigment that the skin produces in response to sun exposure, is naturally present in varying amounts between people of different ethnicities. If you are fair-skinned (your skin produces very little melanin) or if you are exposed to the sun before sufficient melanin can be manufactured and dispersed, the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun will damageskin cells. Even a mild sunburn that produces only a little redness destroys the top layer of your skin and can damage the DNA in your skin, leading to premature signs of aging and an increased risk of skin cancer. But how do you avoid these effects?
Important Sun Exposure Guidelines
One of the most effective ways to avoid excessive exposure to the sun is to cover up.
- The sun's rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stay indoors during this time, particularly throughout the summer months; or if you must go outside, cover up and wear sunscreen.
- Damaging UV light will still penetrate through cloud cover and burn your skin.
- Take precautions even at cooler times of the year or in cooler climates.
- Shaded areas outside provide only moderate protection from UV light, and do not protect you from rays reflected off sand, snow, concrete and many other surfaces.
- Being under water does not protect your skin; UV light is not reflected by water, but can easily penetrate through water.
- If you insist on sunbathing, slowly introduce your skin to the sun and enable it to build up melanin to provide some protection. Do not use tanning oils, which enhance the effects ofUV rays and worsen a burn.
- Some drugs and herbal medicines can make your skin extra sensitive to sun exposure and increase the risk of sunburn. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this possibility if you are taking any medication.
- Your skin is exposed to UV light that is mainly composed of UVA and UVB radiation. While tanning companies promote light machines that produce only UVA radiation, the non-burning type, UVA rays in fact penetrate the skin even deeper than UVB rays. Over time, exposure to UVA rays can make skin dry and wrinkled and significantly increase the risk of skin cancer.
Important Sunscreen Guidelines
Sunscreen is the cheapest and easiest way to slow down the signs of skin aging and should be a part of every daily skin care routine. It delays sun damage, skin thinning and wrinkling, and reduces the risk of skin cancer. There is no surgical or non-surgical treatment that is more effective at protecting your skin.
- A broad spectrumsunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 should be worn. Broad spectrum indicates protection from both UVA and UVB radiation, whereas the SPF only indicates the length of time you are protected from UVB rays (or sunburn).
- Sunscreen should be applied generously to all areas of exposed skin. This includes areas that are especially vulnerable to reflected light, such as under the chin. Do not forget to protect the tops of the ears, the hairline and crown, the V of the chest, the neckline, and
- Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the skin to absorb it.
- If you are fair-skinned, you might even consider applying a layer of sunscreen before bed to allow it to be thoroughly absorbed into the skin's outer layer during the night. Then apply another coat of sunscreen the next day, 30 minutes before you go outside.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours; more often if you are sweating or getting wet.
- Waterproof sunscreen is best if you will be bathing or swimming. Towel drying yourself also removes sunscreen from the surface of the skin and lessens it’s effectiveness.
- The sun can also burn the sensitive skin on the lips (and lip cancer can also occur). Use a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15 and reapply it often.
- Protruding horizontal surfaces, such as the nose, tops of the feet, and the shoulders are particularly vulnerable. Consider applying a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to the nose, before applying a zinc oxide paste over the top for maximum protection.
Cosmetic Skin Treatments
The use of good skin care creams and regimes is essential to prevent the skin from becoming dehydrated and accentuating fine lines and wrinkles. Unfortunately, however, there are no home remedies that can cure the damage from sunburn. If your skin is already showing signs of premature aging, contact our clinic and schedule a consultation with Dr. Jugenburg. During your consultation, Dr. Jugenburg will carefully assess the areas of your skin that are concerning you and discuss the best options to provide a cosmetic improvement. These might include non-surgical treatments, such as Botox and/or Dermal Fillers.