As summer fast approaches, the warmer weather is driving nearly everyone outside. It can be a real treat to get back out into the growing spring and stretch your legs after feeling so cramped and chilly for the last few months. But with that comes more exposure to the sun. It only takes a short amount of time to get a sunburn, and you can still get damage on an overcast day. More and more healthcare professionals are advising people to take better care of their skin, to avoid more than just a bad sunburn.
Your skin is a precious resource
If you didn’t know, your skin is the largest organ on your body. It’s your bodies first line of defense against outside contaminants and must remain intact to do its job. Immediate damage done because of sun exposure can cause dry skin, irritation, burns, inflammation and even blisters in some severe cases. These short term effects will diminish reasonably quickly, but it is just a portent of possible problems to come in the future.
Damage can cause the look of aging
Excessive sun exposure can cause age spots and wrinkles to form earlier than they would typically appear if you had used some kind of protection. These traits can increase in intensity depending on how much damage is done to the skin. When the cells are damaged from the sun, it takes them longer to heal and reproduce, replacing the damaged cells.
Alterations in skin pigmentations are more unsightly than it is unhealthy. Skin pigmentations occur when the cells in the skin that produce melanin become damaged, causing them to either overproduce or underproduce melanin. This is what causes patchiness in the skin. If you do start getting discoloration from the sun, there are a few options that can be attempted to help reduce the appearance of discolored spots, but the damage done to the cells cannot be able to be undone.
The Big C
The biggest fear for anyone is finding out that they have cancer in any form. When you leave your skin unprotected in the sun, you increase your chances of getting skin cancer. If you do spend a lot of time out in the sun unprotected, keep an eye out for any moles or irregular growths on your skin. If you do see something abnormal or see a distinct change in your body, see a doctor immediately. The faster you can identify any type of cancer, the better odds you have of getting rid of it.
Well, how do I protect my skin?
You need to take precautions to protect what skin you have. It’s important to stop further damage from occurring. The best way to protect your skin is to cover it up with hats, long-sleeved shirts and pants. This can sometimes be a bit much in the heat, so the second best thing is sunscreen. By using an SPF sunscreen of 30 or more and applying it as directed, you can help to prevent any further damage done to your skin. Also, wear eye protection, as the skin around your eyes is most sensitive and susceptible to damage.
There are some medications out there that can cause increased sensitivity to your skin. Know if you happen to be taking these medications and keep an eye on the UV Index, making sure to limit the exposure on days where the index is moderate to high.
Your skin is your most valuable resource. Because it is your largest organ, it’s most susceptible to repetitive damage. Making ourselves knowledgeable on what we can do to prevent any further damage is an essential step to staying happy and healthy. So go out and enjoy the spring and summer, just make sure that you bring your sunscreen.