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Your Skin and the Sun

With rapidly rising temperatures, now is the perfect time to discuss the effects of the sun on your skin and learn how to treat over-exposure and protect skin from further UV damage.

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The sun's rays make us feel good, and in the short term, make us look good and we often associate a glowing complexion with good health but our love affair with the sun isn't a two-way street. Exposure to sun accelerates the effects of ageing and increases your risk of developing skin cancer.

Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibres in the skin called elastin. When these fibres break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The skin also bruises and tears more easily therefore taking longer to heal. So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you're young, it will definitely show later in life.

Exposure to the sun causes:

  • Pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions - due to decreases in the skin's immune function
  • Benign tumours
  • Fine and coarse wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Discoloured areas of the skin, called mottled pigmentation
  • Sallowness - a yellow discoloration of the skin
  • Telangiectasias - the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin
  • Elastosis -- the destruction of the elastic and collagen tissue (causing lines, wrinkles and sagging skin)

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can somewhat repair itself, especially with on-going sun protection. So, it's never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Your skin does change with age, for example, you sweat less and your skin can take longer to heal, but you can delay these changes by staying out of the sun.

Follow these tips to help prevent sun damage to your skin:

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater at least  20 minutes before sun exposure and every 2 hours thereafter, more if you are sweating or swimming.
  • Select clothing, cosmetic products, and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours (between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.).
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly (at least monthly) to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
  • Eighty percent of a person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. As a parent, be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child.

Come in and let us colour match your skin to one of our SPF foundations to ensure you are covered every day