When the sun is out, many of us take the opportunity to be out with it, usually baring not-quite-all in order to get that bronzed body. In fact, too many of us will skimp on the sun cream or forego the basic sun safety rules in order to maximise the tanning potential. Others think that they are protected, but in spite of making efforts to take care of their skin will unknowingly be allowing harmful UV rays to get to our sensitive skin cells. I am lover of the sun, but as a medical professional working from my clinic, KP Aesthetics in Hale, Altrincham, I am very aware of the damaging effects of the sun and what we can do to protect ourselves from it. I am certainly an advocate for a summer of sun, sea, and selfies, but also safety! Here I share some essential facts about staying skin-safe this summer.
Sun Damage is the Greatest Catalyst for Premature Ageing
Okay, this may not be an unknown fact for a lot of you, but by understanding how the sun does this I hope you will know the gravity of going without that SPF. Many of my wonderful patients at KP Aesthetics are looking to pause the ageing process, or to reverse the visible signs of ageing. Fortunately for them, I have a wide variety of effective aesthetic treatments which can do just that. Whilst ageing is inevitable, premature ageing can be easily prevented by showing our skin some respect in the sun – especially considering 80% of skin ageing can be credited to sun damage.
Tanning is the result of a chemical reaction caused when UVB rays are absorbed by melanin. Melanin is the first defence against sun damage, but when exposed excessively to these UV rays, we burn and our skin cells are damaged. This damage causes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, freckles and hyperpigmentation, tough and leathery skin, and sadly very commonly, skin cancer.
SPF Makeup is NOT Enough!
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your SPF 15 foundation does not provide the sun protection that the bottle would suggest. Studies show that you would actually need seven times the normal amount of foundation to offer the protection as stated on the bottle, and up to 14 times the normal amount of powder.
You Still Need SPF on Cloudy Days
That’s right; UVA rays are still able to penetrate the clouds whether you’re in Cheshire or Croatia. More than UVB rays which are responsible for burning, UVA rays are responsible for premature ageing (it’s helping to think B for burning and A for ageing). While you may not feel the immediate effects of UV damage as you would if you were out in the sun without sun cream, UVA will definitely be causing long term damage to skin cells and sooner than you’d hope those fine lines will be making their way onto your face.
UV Rays Can Penetrate Your Clothes
This was news to me too, that in spite of being covered by the light clothing that we opt for in hotter weather, our skin is still at risk of sun damage. Darker colours and heavier fabrics will ultimately offer more protection, which isn’t ideal. Of course, the more skin that is covered, the better, but staying indoors whilst the sun is at its most powerful is advised.
Drinking Alcohol Doesn’t Replace Water
For many of us, a relaxing afternoon in the sun would not be complete without a sip on an ice cold cocktail, whether we’re in our back garden, our favourite pub or bar, or on a beach in Barbados. I assure you that I am not suggesting we stop the flow of alcohol, but only that we need to be aware of the effects it can have on our skin. Firstly, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it stimulates our bladder much more than water would. This causes us to dehydrate and can result in serious sun stroke. When it comes to our skin though, when whiling away the hours with a few glasses of crisp white wine and great friends, we are more prone to forgetting sun cream top-ups.
Try alternating your drinks, swapping every other one in for a glass of water and don’t forget that sun cream!
I wish you all a wonderful summer season. Don’t forget if you want super smooth skin that lasts, I offer Laser Hair Removal treatments from top to toe and for those who are seeing the signs of ageing sun damage, get in touch to learn which aesthetic treatments can best restore a youthful complexion.