The application of sunscreen should be a part of your daily routine, even in winter. UV rays are always present outdoors, and you can get a sunburn even in cold months. Indeed, any time spent outdoors leaves your skin vulnerable to sun damage. Whether you’re spending a day at the pool in summer or skiing the slopes at your favorite resort in winter, it’s vital that you protect your skin.
Here’s what sunscreen protects you from.
1. Premature Aging
A sun tan is associated with a bronzy glow and a healthy, youthful appearance; but what you don’t realize is that sun exposure is aging you prematurely.
Sunlight reaches earth in both visible and invisible rays, many of which are comprised of ultraviolet (UV) light. When UV rays reach your skin, they compromise processes that affect the appearance of your skin as well as the growth rate of skin cells. UV radiation exposure can lead to many physical ailments over the long term, such as premature wrinkling and skin cancer. Plus, in the short term, it can cause painful burns and blistering.
Two types of UV radiation affect your skin: longer UV rays (UVA rays) and shorter rays (UVB rays). Excessive exposure to UVB rays will give you sunburns and cause superficial damage to the outer layer of the skin. UVA rays are longer, meaning they are able to penetrate deeper into your skin’s thickest layer to result in permanent damage.
Photoaging refers to the changes that occur due to the sun, and happens to be the major cause of wrinkles. In fact, it is responsible for the development of 80 percent of wrinkles. When UVA rays are allowed to penetrate deep into the skin, it can cause the breakdown of collagen and elastin. These essential proteins will break down, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle over time. In addition to wrinkles, photoaging causes sun spots, rough texture and pigmentation changes.
3. Skin Cancer
Skin cancer, the most prevalent form of all cancers in the country, involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. This rapid growth leads to the formation of tumors, which can either be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
There are three main types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are not quite as serious as melanoma and comprise 95 percent of all skin cancers. These means they are highly curable when caught and treated early. Melanoma, on the other hand, is comprised of abnormal skin pigment cells and is the most serious of all the skin cancers. In fact, it is the cause of 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths. If not caught early and treated, it can spread to other organs, thereby becoming more difficult to control.
Keeping your skin healthy all year round involves applying sunscreen regularly. Be sure to use it especially on areas of scarring. Follow that up with silicone scar gels like Scarfade, which works to lessen the appearance of scars. These two items should be in your medicine cabinet and used daily.