The Sun interacts with the skin in two ways - through radiation and heat. Sun radiation is a combination of visible light, infrared radiation, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This radiation can have both positive and negative effects on the skin, depending on the duration and intensity of the exposure. UV radiation from the Sun can cause sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer. Sun exposure can also create a natural tan, which is a sign that the skin has produced more pigment to protect itself from further UV damage. Heat from the Sun can also cause the skin to become dehydrated and dry, which can result in itching, flaking, and inflammation. Heat also means more sweat, which can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and other skin problems.
Easy ways to protect your skin from sun damage:
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.
- Avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm when the Sun's rays are strongest.
- Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats and sunglasses when outdoors.
- Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating.
- Stay in the shade whenever possible.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E to help protect your skin from sun damage.
- Use a moisturizer with SPF to help protect and hydrate your skin.
- Avoid tanning beds.
- Get regular skin cancer screenings.