Too much exposure to sunlight is harmful and can damage the skin. Some of this damage is short-term (temporary), such as sunburn. However, allowing your skin to burn can lead to future problems, such as skin illness due to long-term skin damage.
There are two main types of damaging ultraviolet (UV) sunlight: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, damaging the middle layer (the dermis). The dermis contains the elastic tissues that keep the skin stretchy. UVA rays therefore have the effect of ageing the skin and causing wrinkles. UVB rays are absorbed by the top layer of skin (the epidermis). This causes sun tanning but also burning.
Both UVA and UVB rays increase your risk of developing skin illness. Getting sunburnt is therefore a warning sign that you are putting yourself at risk. Skin cells that are damaged are at greater risk of becoming abnormal and cancerous.
Melanin is the coloured pigment in our skins. When skin is exposed to sunlight, more melanin is produced to help protect the skin against the UV rays. This makes the skin darker – what people refer to as a suntan. Although melanin stops your skin burning so easily, it does not prevent the harmful effects of UV rays.
For example, it can cause premature skin ageing, such as wrinkles and loss of elasticity.
Better avoid the sun exposure from 11 am and 3 pm in the summer months This applies all year round in hotter countries nearer to the equator. This middle time of the day is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
Vitamin D is vital for good health. Vitamin D is made in the skin with the help of sunlight. Sunlight is actually the main source of vitamin D, as there is very little found in the foods that we eat. Healthy food, water and vitamins and minerals are very important also four our skin.
The way to balance the good and bad effects of the sun is to enjoy the sun safely. This means using all the tips above. So enjoy being out in the sun when it is not so strong. Have short times out in the sun, rather than spending a long time exposed to it, especially in the hotter times of the day and year. When you have to be out in the middle of the day, use protection such as sun creams, glasses,hats, clothing and shade. If you want a tanned skin, consider a fake tan cream. Protecting your skin in this way will keep it young-looking and healthy. Enjoy the sunshine, but keep yourself safe.