It is a well known fact, that a bit of vitamin D which the sun generously gives us, is good for our overall health. We spend a lot of our time outside our homes whether we are on our way to work or vacationing on the beach - so how much sun is too much sun?
We are sure that you’ve heard about the negative effects of the merciless rays of the sun - so we are not here to tell you that the sun is bad for you, rather we are here to explain why you should be cautious. What are its dangers? How can we prevent its negative effects? Although informational, we are trying to shed light on how you can protect yourself from one of nature’s intense beauties.
Some people tan intentionally while others tan easily, either way a little bit of science is involved. Your skin becomes a shade or few darker because the UV radiation that hits us causes the formation of melanin - a pigment that gives human skin, hair and eyes their colour. One of the biggest culprits of the sun’s negative effects is its UV rays. Melanin serves to protect the skin layers from damage by absorbing harmful UV rays.
Let’s explain the positive and negative effects of UV rays so there is a simple understanding. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB. Both UVA and UVB can pass through the atmosphere and cause effects on the skin like premature aging , tanning, sunburns (more uvb) and skin cancers.
UVA causes the skin to become darker by affecting melanin while UVB serves one good purpose. UVB allows the formation of pre-vitamin D in the skin which then becomes active (vitamin D) in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D is crucial when it comes to calcium metabolism which benefits your digestive system, bone strength, heart and muscle work. In fact, a deficiency of Vitamin D can cause several diseases that can affect bone health both in adults and children. So like we said, you’ve heard that getting some Vitamin D from the sun is healthy - this is where it stems from. The reason they say you need to go outside for some sun is because UVB can’t get you if you stay inside the house, it can’t penetrate glass. Few minutes a day is more than enough for a vitamin D dosage, along with consuming calcium rich products. Alternatively if you have sensitive skin, vitamin D3 supplementation is also available.
Usually people don’t like tanning too much, but it happens if you spend too much time outside. The point is to realize that you should always protect yourself from too much sun. Some rays that pass through our skin can’t be prevented by melanin and has the ability to cause sunburns and skin aging. Some people can even be allergic to the sun which is called photosensitivity. Along with those negative effects, it can also cause fine lines and wrinkles, increase freckles, promote discoloration and pigmentation and increase the loss of your skin’s elasticity.
So since you’ve heard that quite a few times, let’s take it a tad bit deeper - don’t worry, we’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. UV light from the sun causes damage in DNA resulting in the production of free radicals. These are the reasons why mutations in the DNA and skin cancers develop. That’s obviously the worst of it, so we’re not saying it can always happen, we’re just saying that’s one of the negative effects of spending too much time under the sun.
Bringing it back to a more dermatological aspect - there are skin types that are quite sensitive to sunlight as they probably don’t produce enough melanin to protect them from its rays. If you are one of those people, spending all day at the beach without sunscreen is probably not a good idea.
So this brings us to preventative methods - how can you protect your precious skin from the sun's rays? Here are some tips for you:
- Wear clothes that protect you from the sun as often as you can. There are clothes that contain compounds that are able to absorb or reflect UV radiation. This decreases the risk of any sunburns or direct contact of sun on your skin.
- Wear a sun hat, sunglasses and light clothing - protect yourself from the sun from all angles.
- If you’re looking for increased shade from the sun, you can also use an umbrella!
- Pay attention to your diet! Vitamin C and E are natural antioxidants and can increase the protection of your skin from free radicals. Try some carrots and tomatoes!
- For the hundredth time, please do not skip out on sunscreen - even if you’re indoors. Like we said UVB can’t penetrate glass, but UVA sure can! Use it liberally on your body, and don’t forget your nose, ears and the back of your neck. You definitely should put it on before you leave the house, and try to apply it every few hours if you can.
So, sunlight does have its positive effects but too much of it can cause negative effects that can be hard to control once they’ve already affected you. The advice we can give you is that moderate amount of sunlight works best for your health - just keep in mind when you’re getting too much of the sun’s rays, back off a little bit. We are not saying don’t go enjoy the beach, all we’re saying is that balance is key! Don’t forget to use the protective measures to take care of your skin, you are stuck with it for the rest of your life.
If your skin has been affected negatively by the rays of the sun, please do not self-diagnose or self-medicate - consult a dermatologist. A trained dermatologist can assess the severity of your condition and prescribe the right medications for your skin type - which is crucial to the healing of your skin.
With Remedico, you can now consult a dermatologist right from your phone without having to make an appointment. You will receive a customized treatment plan in 24 hours!