Do you know the truth about the sun damage to your skin? Yes, the sun is so warm and soothing and feels so good on your skin.
The truth is, that same sun will soon be burning your skin.
Sun Truths: Sun Damage To Your Skin
While you are relaxing and having fun in the sun, the sun is damaging your skin beyond what you see today. That slightly flushed look your cheeks had? Yeah, that will easily be a 1st-degree sunburn in a bit.
Get your sun hat, your sunglasses and a long sleeved loose fitting shirt to protect you from further damage.
Yes, this may not really be dark enough for you to call it a tan. Just a hit of brown, but you may have burned the first layer of your skin! If this is true, you have recieved some sun damage to your skin.
Some Serious Results From Enjoying The Sun
You might think that your tan may “look nice,” but that “golden color” is due to an injury to the top layer of your skin. Is this really what you wanted?
“You are just soaking up a few of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays?”
Do you just want a little tan? Are you still a tan worshiper? Given all, you know about the dangers of the sun?
Fact check: This sun you love is speeding up the aging of your skin and will raise your risk of skin cancer! I know, your thought that all you had to do to prevent damage is to use a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher.
Yes, you will be protecting yourself for a few minutes, but are you happy to go in after 15 or 20 minutes? If you are, you already know how quickly the sun can damage your skin. You don’t need to be reminded.
It feels so good to lounge in the sunshine, but your skin can start paying a price in as little as 10 minutes if you have fair skin. If you have darker tones, you can be out about 20 minutes before you are hurting the health of your skin for the long run.
Over the years, too much time outdoors can put you at risk for early wrinkles, early appearing age spots, those scaly patches called actinic keratosis, and skin cancer. That is a pretty hefty price for pushing the limits of a few minutes in the sun.
You can get some sun, keep your skin from burning and stay safe by choosing sunning times wisely and paying attention to the time in the sun.
Sunburn – AKA 1st Degree Burn
Is your skin turning red? Does it feel hot to the touch? In fact, is your skin a bit tender and sensitive to the touch? You now have a sunburn!
I know it was quick, but it happened. Even with sunscreen, you can quickly get a sunburn. Yes, this is a 1st-degree burn! Some may need to get medical help at this point.
A first-degree burn is what happens when the sunburn affects only the outer layer of your skin.
To get some relief from pain, you could take aspirin or ibuprofen. You can put a cold compress on the affected skin, or apply some moisturizing cream or aloe.
Be sure is it a breathable cream, not a petroleum based cream like vaseline will not allow the burned area to release heat. You might cause the burn to be deeper than just your outer layer of skin.
A cool shower or bath can sometimes offer some relief when the sunburn is over a good part of your body.
More Sunburn AKA 2nd Degree Burn
So, at this point you know the drill, a second-degree sunburn damages the deeper layers of your skin and nerve endings. This one is more painful and takes longer to heal.
Review the information in the 1st degree burn section for some home treatment you can try. However, you must know that you may have enough burn that you should seek medical help. Your skin could have had a stronger than normal reaction to too much sun.
Were you taking allergy meds? What about any other meds? Often the sun affects us more than normal just because you had a headache and took medication for that while out in the sun.
We have lived with the sun so long, that we get careless. Just like helping keep your kids from tooth decay through brushing and a healthy diet, we need to protect their skin.
Science is just now able to collect the data and actually trace the damage the sun can do. Yes, my parents let us play out unprotected too much. They didn’t know better. I did the same with my kids, I didn’t know the damage I was allowing to build up on their skin.
My adult kids have spent so much time in the dermatology chair with skin cancers from our years of not knowing better. Will you do the same for your family?
Oh yes, one last caution with your 2nd-degree sunburn. Your skin may have redness and swelling. If blisters do form, don’t break them. They might get infected. Allow all of them to break in time and after they are beginning to heal.
Don’t scratch them if they itch. Gently dab a cold cloth on the spot to deaden the itchy feeling. Let your skin heal safely.
The sun’s rays can make you look old when you are still young. Who wants to look 40 when they are still 25! Never mind the wrinkles that catch up with you when you are over 40 and have had too much sun!
The ultraviolet rays of everyday light get through to our skin and mess with the collagen and the elastin that we were born with. Yes, the UV A rays are damaging our skin every day you are exposed to light.
While living in a cave where the sun doesn’t reach your skin might work for some, the price is pretty high. For me, using a sunscreen every day on my face and wearing sun block clothing seems a better choice, and the one I try to make.
The damaging UV rays are difficult to avoid and we will all have some damage to our skin, even trying to be careful. You must protect your skin, and be aware of when you are exposing your body daily.
Uneven Skin Tone
This is one of those conditions that seem unimportant until it happens to you.
When you get too much sun, one kind of reaction can cause some areas of your skin to appear darker, while others look lighter. This is just the reaction your skin has as it is trying to protect itself from burning. Uneven skin tone results often look like a darker area than your skin tone layer down in your skin.
This darker tone will sometimes, in time go away. However, some of us are left with this unevenly color area on our face, or forehead. Some have the upper lip affected like a moustache. Our skin will sometimes lose the uneven tones, this will usually take several months.
There may also be some permanent changes in your small blood vessels, which gives you a reddish look in places. Again, in time some heal, others don’t. Just avoid it altogether by using safe practices for your skin when out in the sun.
Avoid the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM for outdoor activities when you can. Trying to protect your skin is number one in preventing summer sun damage.
You get these on areas of your body that are exposed to the sun. Freckles usually show up first on your cheeks and nose. However, they can be on your shoulders or arms as well if they are exposed to the sun.
You’ll notice them more in the summer, especially if you’re fair-skinned or have light or red hair, or light colored eyes.
Freckles don’t usually prove dangerous for you. However, some cancers while in the earliest stages can look like a freckle. It is important to see your doctor if the size, shape, or color of a spot changes, or if it itches or bleeds.
If you have darker tones in your skin, your freckles may look more like a black spot.
Our experience with freckles for my family is that once they appear they don’t go away. They are permanent. Maybe your experience has been different?
Melasma – Often Called A Pregnancy Mask
This condition usually shows up after you have been in the sun. The “Mask” is usually tan or brown patches on your cheeks, nose, forehead, and sometimes on your chin. This mask color to your face is more common among women when they are pregnant.
However, not all men escape the “Mask” of added skin color. They too can have the “Mask” show up. Sunscreen and sun blocking clothing is an important part of skincare to keep from making this condition worse.
It can go away after your baby is born, but you can also treat it with prescription creams and over-the-counter products. As always, check with your doctor before using anything, especially if you are pregnant.
It is important to use sun blocking hats and sunscreen on your face at all times you are in the sun if you have melasma. Sunlight can make it worse. Like all skin conditions, some of us are just more sensitive and will react. Others won’t.
Solar Lentigines (Or What Mom Calls Age Spots)
These irregular-shaped brown or grey areas aren’t really caused just by getting older. Most of us do get more of them around on our arms, throat, neck and especially face and even our head as we get older. You get them from being out in the daylight.
You can use bleaching creams, liquid nitrogen, Retin-A products, and topical benzoyl peroxide treatments to try to make them less obvious. These age spots don’t harm your health but you should check with your doctor to make sure they’re not something more serious, like skin cancer.
Actinic Keratosis (Solar Keratosis)
These are usually red, brown, or plain skin-colored places on your skin that are small and scaly. You get them from being out in the sunlight too much when you forgot to protect your skin. These are little scaley places that will sometimes have an open sore or a scabbed sore kind of in the center.
They usually show up on your head, neck, or hands, but they will also appear on other parts of your body. Older men who have lost some hair often find these places on their bald head area or at the edges of their hair.
If you worked outside before we learned to protect our heads against the sun, these are almost predictable. The sun reaches your head first. That is where we must start with our sun block protection.
Hats are better than relying completely on sunscreen, which must be replaced often. Thick heads of hair might protect, but just better than a thinner head of hair. A sun block hat is the best protection.
See your doctor if you notice scaly spots on your skin. These are usually the easiest to treat skin cancers you may find on your skin. If these places do not get treatment they can sometimes turn into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. Remember, this kind of skin cancer is usually easy for most of us if treated early. Early is the keyword here.
Melanoma is not as common as other types of skin cancer, but it’s the most serious. Possible signs include a change in the way a mole or colored area looks.
Melanoma can affect the skin only, or it may spread to organs and bones. It can be cured if you get early treatment.
While melanoma is often down in your skin and not easy to spot, so you will need to see a dermatologist. The warnings are given here to help you become aware of how this kind of skin cancer works. This one kills several thousand every year.
At this time, science thinks that melanoma is a result of sun exposure to your skin. If any of the other signs of skin cancer appear, get checked.
Make a complete and consistent effort to protect your skin from the sun. Sun block clothing can give you an edge.
When my Dad was young, the accepted dress code for young men included long pants and long sleeved shirts. They also wore hats. Their skin was more protected than younger generations.
He didn’t go to work on the tractor with a short sleeve tee shirt, a cap with a bill, and cut off jeans. Times and trends have been changing.
Unfortunately, our sun protection didn’t improve. It all but disappeared because it looked old fashioned. Now that you are aware, how will you protect yourself?
Sami’s Thouhts about Sun Damage To Your Skin
As we see the statics come in year after year, it is apparent that our lifestyle is the major cause of skin being damaged by the sun.
We also need to accept the responsibility for protecting our own skin, as well as our families. We still must get over ourselves and the tan worship. It is not worth the price.
The sun block clothing manufacturers are helping us to have the clothing we need to protect our bodies. We can stay active and enjoy being out in the sun, and still be protected. Sunscreen with sun block clothing, your sun hat, sunglasses. They will all make keeping your skin safe easier.
As you learn more about how you can protect yourself, you can do better. You know that the more times you allow your skin to be in the sun too long at an unsafe time of day, the more damage you are getting.
Sun damage accumulates every time you lose track of time and stay in the sun too long. You have a lot of power in awareness. Will you use your awareness to keep safer and keep your skin healthy?