Although we’d love to, we’re not going to say “I told you so!” this time around. Whether your intentions were to lie out in the sun to “get a little color” or you thought the overcast day would keep those harmful rays at bay, you’re burnt and suffering the painful consequences. While the effects of sunburn include sore, red skin and sometimes areas that are extremely tender to the touch, it’s the potential long-term effects of sun damage (like skin cancer and premature aging) that should really have you putting on your shades and hat and adopting a preventive skincare regimen.
Did you know that approximately 80 to 85 percent of aging is caused by sun exposure?
For anyone with anti-aging concerns—those of you who are young now will probably have them later in life—it’s important to adopt safe sun habits and preserve the quality of your skin. The markers of youthful skin are plumpness, firmness and a lifted appearance. As you age, Collagen and Elastin fibers weaken. When the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays, it can accelerate this process, thereby leading to the wrinkles and fine lines associated with premature aging.
There are two types of ultraviolet rays that penetrate the skin. UVA rays, also known as “aging” rays, damage the deeper layers of the skin. As time goes on and your skin regenerates, past damage can become more noticeable. That’s when hyperpigmentation (skin discoloration) and uneven texture come into play. UVB rays, also known as “burning” rays, penetrate the top layer of skin and can be even more damaging.
The sun is at its strongest between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM. To stay protected, it’s best to use products on your face and body with high sun protection factors. Always apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outside. The best way to ensure that you don’t miss a spot is to put it on before dressing. It’s easy to miss spots and leave areas exposed when trying to avoid getting product on your clothing.
For skin that needs to be soothed after an uncomfortable sunburn, the After Sun Cooling Gel may be just what you need. Formulated with extracts of Aloe and Rose as well as Menthol, this cooling gel can be used on areas that are irritated and burned (it’s best not to apply it to broken or blistered skin). For those with sensitive or recently burned skin, it’s best to use products that contain Aloe Vera. Once skin has been burned, there is no way to stop it from peeling since this is a natural part of the healing process, so limit scrubs and exfoliation to give sensitive areas a break. Additional ingredients that offer a soothing benefit are Chamomile.
When taking a shower, be sure to use a temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold. It’s advisable to keep the water just below tepid. If your skin has blisters, you may even want to take a bath instead of showering to avoid applying pressure on the blisters. After bathing, gently pat your skin dry with a towel or let your body air dry.
Remember, it’s important to care for your skin all year round. The worst sunburns don’t just happen in summer. Overcast days in spring can also expose your skin to damaging rays, so make sure you’re always protected. When in doubt, make like the Australians do, and Slip! Slop! Slap! (If you don’t already know what that means, check out this informative blog post on optimal sun protection.)
Many people love the look of glowing summer skin. To build a tan without taking the chance of getting burnt, try a self-tanning lotion rather than laying out in the sun. Be mindful of areas like elbows, knees, ankles, wrists and between the fingers and toes, and you’ll look great without suffering the negative consequences!