Enjoying the warmth from the sun has its benefits and disadvantages. Your skin needs Vitamin D to keep producing healthy cells. However, with just about anything in life, too much of something can become harmful. Intense, consistent sun exposure without protection from clothes or sunscreen will result in a sunburn, leaving your skin vulnerable to damage and other complications.
Below some of the common questions Newport Beach plastic surgeon, Dr. Ghada Afifi, addresses from her patients concerned about constant sun exposure.
What Is A Sunburn?
Although soaking up the sun’s rays for as little as ten minutes does not seem like a long enough timeframe to do any real damage, if we truly understood what was happening to our skin during this process we would be sprinting towards the sunblock aisle.
A sunburn is a literal burn of your skin, and is the reaction to overexposed ultraviolet rays, demonstrating severe damage. The first and most obvious sign is redness. This is your body’s inflammatory response to requiring repair and is a result of dilated blood vessels. Because of the burn, your skin will begin to lose moisture and its’ natural hydration, causing tightness. The melanin pigment of skin will slowly start to thicken, producing a tan. Thus, acting as a shield against UV rays from penetrating the deeper layers of your skin that cause harmful damage to the DNA of cells.
What Are Risks Of Sun Exposure?
There are both long-term and short-term dangers of sun damage, ranging from moderate to sometimes life-threatening.
Premature Aging- UV waves from the sun can penetrate beneath the epidermis layer into the dermis. There they break down the collagen tissue, producing fine lines and wrinkles. Age spots, uneven skin pigmentation, as well as sagging due to loss of elasticity can be the result of overexposure to the sun.
Skin Cancer- A severe sunburn can lead to an increased risk of developing melanoma. Other forms of skin cancer are brought about by an accumulation of sun exposure over time. Melanoma can occur from brief, intense experiences such as sunburn blisters.
How Do I Protect Myself From Sun Damage?
When people think of sun defense, they usually assume it is only required at the beach or lounging by the pool. Sun exposure adds up day after day, every time you are outside.
If you are going stay in the sun, here are some steps Dr. Afifi recommends to her patients:
Use Sunscreen- Although sunblock is a product you should be wearing to protect your skin from the sun, it is essential to know it is a temporary filter. Sunscreen’s purpose it to prolong you’re your time in the sun.
Wear Sunglasses- Darker Shades does not mean better. Ideal lenses should block up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays. If there is no label claiming sun protection, do not assume they will. Large-framed sunglasses are more likely to shield your eyes from harsh sunlight coming around from all angles.
Avoid Tanning Beds And Sun Lamps- Many people have the assumption that the UV rays in tanning beds aren’t harmful. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. Both tanning beds and sun lamps contain harmful UV and UB waves. These rays have been directly linked to long-term skin issues such as melanoma.
For more information on the risks and protection of sun exposure, contact Ghada Y. Afifi, MD, FACS today.
Our Newport Beach, CA plastic surgeon will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.