Avoid aging and burning caused by sun exposure

Summer is here and it’s a good time to remember that your skin is more vulnerable this time of year with increased outdoor activities.

The sun has two distinct rays that can damage the skin – UVA (Ultraviolet A) and UVB (Ultraviolet B). But what those abbreviations should actually stand for are Ultraviolet Aging and Ultraviolet Burning.

UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent than UVB rays, and more deeply penetrate the skin. UVA is the dominant tanning ray. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA – the skin darkens to prevent further damage. UVB rays cause sunburn and play a key role in the development of skin cancer.

Children are especially vulnerable to sun damage. A child’s skin can start to burn in as little as 15 minutes. Sunscreen can fade quickly when sweating and swimming. Just a few serious burns at a young age dramatically increases the chance of developing skin cancer later in life. Years of direct sun exposure gradually add up to frustrating and possibly scary skin challenges as we age.

Long-term sun damage appears as sun spots (age or liver spots), fine lines and wrinkles, leathery looking skin, and a loss of elasticity that causes sagging and looseness. Not to mention the increased risks of skin cancer. These results are not what most people would typically want for their skin, yet many still crave that bronzed glow.

The best way to avoid sun damage is to stay out the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you can’t avoid exposure, long sleeves, a hat and sunglasses offer excellent protection. Make sure to wear sunscreen and reapply often – every two hours, especially when outdoors and active. For those who are persistent about that “healthy glow,” consider a spray tan or sunless tanner, and remember pale is the new tan!

Angela Noble is an esthetician and the spa coordinator of FUSE at AL!VE. She can be reached at 517-543-9575.