So, You Don’t Think Sunscreen Is Important?
You don’t think sunscreen is important? How are you going to protect your skin? I do hope you haven’t exposed your skin as much as these young ladies have.
Have I ever tanned this much? No, I don’t know that my skin would tan that much before it burns. My base skin tone is pretty light. I can slowly get a tan, but should I?
What about you? Does the idea of trying to reapply a good layer of sunscreen on your body after you are sweaty make you think that no more sunscreen sounds like a good deal? Think again!
What Happens When You Don’t Protect Your Skin From The Sun
When you don’t protect your skin from the sun, UV radiation can damage the collagen and connective tissue in your skin. This is where aging starts.
Ultra Violet A
When you no longer have healthy undamaged collagen or connective tissue in your skin you won’t be happy with yourself. This loss of healthy collagen leads to the loss of elasticity in your skin.
This, my friend, is what causes wrinkles. Saggy and old-looking skin will appear sooner than it should. Who wants to look old before they should? This link will take you to an article about those who did and those who didn’t protect themselves from the sun.
(https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5290673/Is-proof-sun-lovers-age-faster.html) (For some reason Google does not like links to this article, but Oh my, pictures are worth many words. So copy and paste to search)
Your collagen is a major working component of the connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. The collagen in your body has many important functions, including providing your skin with a healthy structure. Then added to all that, it helps strengthen your joints and bones
When you expose your skin to too much sun the DNA of your skin cell can be affected. This affects how your outer skin layers protect the inner layers of your skin where the collagen is made and put to use.
The UVA in sunlight and actually all kinds of light is the aging part of the ray for our skin. Where there is UVA, there is usually UVB unless in a man-made situation. Man-made lights do have some effects on your skin.
Ultra Violet B
UVB rays are dangerous rays that will result in sunburn when you expose your skin for too long.
The UVB rays are part of the energy that comes from the sun.
Remember, UVB radiation causes sunburn, darkening (tanning), and thickening of the outer layer of the skin. Melanoma and other types of skin cancer also are caused by too much sun exposure.
UV rays also cause problems with your eyes and with your immune system.
When your skin gets too much sun, it can result in a sunburn. In a sunburn, your skin turns red and blisters.
Your skin has blisters, with fluid in them and swelling over a larger area. The skin can be wet-looking. There is pain. There can be white discoloration within the burn area.
Sometimes a single sunburn can cause a change in your DNA. More often it is the result of 2 or 3 sunburns that damage enough that the skin no longer heals correctly. The skin cells may no longer lay smooth after healing.
Cancer is a condition of skin cells growing and not shutting down. With sun damage your skin can forget how to stop growing at the right time. The area may be rough, and no longer smooth.
Your skin may no longer be able to heal, and the result is an open sore spot. This is the beginning of skin cancer.
(KAN-ser) A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. There are several main types of cancer.
Cancer cells lack the ability to control how they grow. When the DNA in your surface skin cells are cooked by too much exposure to the sun, they no longer have a good code to follow to repair themselves.
So, even if you are not much of a fun-in-the-sun lover, you still run the risk of early aging. We are living in a time when data is being accumulated and evaluated for how safe we are from UV rays in our homes, at work as well as at play.
Then There Are Light Bulbs That Emit UVA
The National Libriary Of Medicine reference: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2829662/#R8)
(The following is my interpretation of these documents. I do not profess to be a medical expert, except in learning to avoid excess sun exposure. These reference documents can sometimes take a while to read. I have read them, looked up the words I didn’t know, and now present them to you.)
Using light from the bulbs in light fixtures for many years will result in, low-dose UV exposure. This can cause accumulative skin damage.
Additional studies must be done to determine the lowest dose capable of inducing damage in photosensitive persons.
( Photosensitivity is a condition in which the skin becomes very sensitive to sunlight or other forms of ultraviolet light. This condition results in a burn very quickly.)
Future generations will benefit from this information. But as we are now generations, we can only try to protect ourselves.
The only person older than me that I ever knew who was super careful about using sunscreen while working, worked in a pharmacy.
She was faithful in her application and had beautiful young-looking skin to back this up.
She wore no other makeup but relied on sunscreen alone. When I asked her about her skincare routine, she said that it was important to protect our skin from light bulbs!
I thought she was a bit over the top, just as you think about me now! She is the one who was able to live her working through retirement years with beautiful young-looking skin.
That is not something I will get to enjoy.
Clouds can block some UVB, the burning part of the UV rays, but UVA can still get through. You may even tan a little as well on cloudy days.
The reason you are encouraged to become so proactive about protecting your skin is that little word accumulated.
Each time you expose your skin to light of any kind for more than a few minutes, the damage adds up.
Think about how a chair cushion on the chair out on the porch. We have one that only gets late afternoon sun because of the protection of the porch.
The first year I thought I had been wise in using fabric from an old shirt to cover the foam. It lasted just fine.
However, unlike the fabric on the other chair cushion, which was a fabric with special finishes to be used outside, it had shredded strips in it.
The sun had used it up really quickly. The fabric had to be replaced as well as the foam base underneath. Not so wise a choice after all.
Protect Your Skin Without Sunscreen
So how does protecting yourself without sunscreen work? How can you do this?
I have not found a way to never use sunscreen. I need to use it for the UVA making me look older and more wrinkled! So here is what I have found that works for me.
Sun blocking clothing is what I have turned to.
With the easy put-it-on and stay-protected warnings ringing in my ear, I have worked out a good compromise for me.
Learning what goes into making a fabric able to block the sun makes me able to wear the items I have that offer more protection.
Knowing that a loose-fitting long-sleeve shirt with a collar is a good sun blocking style it is easier to make better choices.
I can shop my closet.
Shopping My Closet For Sun Prevention Clothing
Now that I know darker deeper colors are better than pale and white colors, I can stay safer.
However, I am not in the sun so much anymore. My kids are grown. I do have to remind them about taking care of their skin though. Do they pay attention? Sometimes.
They are using both sunscreen and sunblocking clothing to protect their skin. They assure me they are more careful than they were when younger.
These kids of mine are experienced in what happens when you don’t take care of your skin.
Yes, they know how the sun can do damage to their skin. Living with skin damaged by the sun, we have all become aware of skin protection.
We as a family have skin that shows sun damage. There is skin on my arms that is wrinkled and saggy.
The support system for my skin has been damaged by the sun. There is no undoing this damage. It is permanent.
I didn’t use sunscreen or keep my skin covered. Now I do keep my arms covered while in the sun.
It is too easy to miss some area on my arms and get a sunburn when we are out in the more direct rays of the sun, between 10 AM and 4 PM.
Sunscreen makers tell you to put on enough to cover yourself. Cover your body well. Not getting on enough sunscreen is a major reason we should have a backup plan.
I’m Not Going Out Today!
This was my favorite “self-talk phrase” when I was in the battle of making sunscreen application in the morning a habit. I would forget, and instead of taking a moment to apply some sunscreen to my face, I promised to next time.
Well, you know how that went. I was also learning about watching the intensity of the sun befor ambling out and watering the fruit trees in the backyard, or the monkey grass in front.
I can look in the mirror and see the sun damage that being careless causes.
Still, the battle to remember sunscreen has taken a while to win. I seldom forget and find it easier to circle back and apply, when I do forget.
That is why I have found sun blocking clothing to be a better choice for me. Once that sun blocking shirt is on, I am ready for the baseball tournament.
I add my sun blocking hat and sunglasses more automatically
The risky occasions don’t happen as often for me as they probably do for you. We all have our personal life cycles.
I am kind of retired, and not commuting to work, not facing the sun each morning.
Protect Your Skin While Commuting To Work
In this part of the world, commuting times, are dangerous as the distance usually has us commuting many miles. We often didn’t consider the risk these hours in the sun present.
Yes, you are in the automobile, but there is lots of sun, as well as reflections.
Protect your face and neck every morning. Even if you are a male! You don’t want to look older before you need to.
Are you reapplying sunscreen?
Will I Need To Reapply Sunscreen When Staying In?
Elisabeth G. Richard, MD: (board-certified dermatologist with a practice in Lutherville, Maryland. Richard is also an assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) shares her thoughts on this “staying in” question.
Wearing sunscreen on any exposed skin is important, even if you are inside all day. Most ultraviolet (UV) rays do penetrate glass. If you’re working or relaxing near a window, you’re still receiving sun exposure.
If you’re spending the day inside and you’re not near a window, there’s no need to reapply as frequently.
Richard stated that “you can reapply every four to six hours.” Remember that sun damage is cumulative, so even if you’re only exposed for a short time, it’s important to have protection.
For my suggestions, keep in mind that no sunscreen is perfect.
Even when you are not getting out. When I go to the grocery store, I am in my car for 10 minutes or so. It will take 2 minutes to get to the store from the parking area. Remember, I live in a very small town!
I don’t add more sunscreen for these trips, even if done midday. If I had car trouble, I would be in trouble! I do have more habits to change.
One of my sun hats is in the car, but I don’t normally put it on. Most of my trips are before 10 AM and after 4 PM.
Don’t forget that sunscreen protection decreases the longer you have it on. It decreases faster if you do activities that will rub or sweat it off. Taking a nap and laying your face on a pillow.
Absorption into your skin will also decrease effectiveness. Later in the day, or earlier in the morning are the safer times to be out.
Sami’s Take On “So You Don’t Think Sunscreen Is Important?”
While many of us are able to ignore sunscreen and stay safe in the sun, at least for a while, it will catch up with us.
Living a life in the sunny part of the world as me and my family has, we have had many encounters with skin cancer, caused by careless habits. Habits that didn’t show up until we were older.
My daughter with strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin used to assure me that “they could make new skin by the time the sun made her look older.”
There is no new skin for her. She works with sun damaged skin.
She works really hard to take care of her skin, now. This extra care means she spends more money and time taking care of her skin.
This could have been avoided had she heeded warnings. I am proud of her efforts, but so sorry we did not realize how permanently skin is affected by the sun.
The many skin cancers she has had removed, as well as the pre-cancer spots, are frightening to me.
We don’t know when one of the spots will be a quickly growing skin cancer requiring serious surgery.
Then There Is Her Brother Who Loved Being Outdoors And Active
Then there is her brother who is also fair, with green eyes, and blonde. He spent a whole summer as a guide for river trips in Utah. At 23, he thought he would always have young-looking skin.
Now, several years later, he too spends time in the dermatologist’s office.
Golf isn’t so much fun when you have to hide from the sun, he says.
You will be seeing the results of allowing too much sun on your skin sooner than you think.
Smoking will also make your skin look older than it should. It dries your skin and works on collagen as well.
I know that you think that I am being over-cautious. We can enjoy being out in that wonderful feeling sun for a limited amount of time with no protection and not get skin damage.
20 minutes will have me turning pink, during the more intense time of the day and year.
What are your limits? Can you make a few adjustments and have more fun in the sun and keep your skin safe from sun damage? Use clothing and sunscreen to take better care of your skin.
Thank you for taking the time to read,