Imagine you’re outside on a hot, summer day, swimming in a pool or wading in the ocean. The feel of the sun’s rays on your skin may seem like the ultimate gift, a warm, welcome change from the colder days you know are just around the corner. But is it really such a good idea to let your skin be exposed to so much sunlight?
Dr. Sharon Gertzman and the rest of us at Serenity Medical Spa want you to understand what the sun really does to your skin, even if you’re only outside for a little while, and why and how you should be taking care of your skin, no matter your race, ethnicity, age, or gender.
Sunlight is good for us…
Getting out in the sun from time to time is important. It helps us sleep better, it boosts our moods, and it even helps our skin produce the vitamin D our bodies need in order for normal bone formation to take place, according to the National Library of Medicine. Unfortunately, though, while we spend so much time touting the benefits of basking in the sun, we often ignore the problems that can come with it.
Skin problems associated with sun exposure
For one, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can burn the skin if it’s not properly protected. This can lead to acute issues like sunburns, as well as more long-term issues like loss of elasticity and premature aging. Even a mild tan is still a form of sun damage to the skin. Over time, those who experience continuous exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays can potentially develop skin cancer.
Melanin is a dark pigment found in our skin cells, and it can help protect the cells from the sun’s ultraviolet rays; however, it’s not foolproof. The darker your skin, the more protection you have and the less likely you are to burn, but even dark-skinned people can’t completely protect themselves against all possible side effects without some help.
Protecting your skin from the sun
People with incredibly light skin, who have only a small amount of melanin in their cells, should be extra vigilant about too much sun exposure.
Still, even those who have lots of melanin can potentially experience a sunburn, as well as the premature aging, loss of elasticity, and potential for skin cancer as their lighter counterparts. As such, everyone should do their part to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself from sun exposure:
- Wear sunscreen.
- Avoid the sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm when it is at its strongest.
- Wear breathable clothes that cover the skin, even in hotter months.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim.
- Limit your sun exposure to only a certain amount of time per day.
Want to learn more about how sunlight affects your skin?
Dr. Gertzman will be happy to discuss with you the possible side effects of too much sun exposure as well as the benefits of our treatments for sun damage. If you’d like to make an appointment at our Pennington, NJ office, just call 609-337-2790 or request an appointment online.