Too much sun is the skin’s worst enemy. The only way to prevent premature aging and skin damage due to overexposure is to stay out of the midday sun when possible.
Exposure to the sun produces formation of molecules in the skin called free radicals and these molecules attack healthy skin cells, damaging and interfering with the production of new collagen. With destruction of the collagen fibers and hyaluronic acid molecules, the skin loses its firmness resulting in wrinkles.
Three types of radiation reach us from the sun. Visible and infrared rays provide light and warmth but ultraviolet rays are harmful. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light falls into three wavelength bands: UVA, UVB and UVC.
Here are tips on how to protect your skin the damaging effect of the sun.
Stay out of the sun: Whenever possible stay out of the sun for long periods of time, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when rays are strongest.
Wear sunglasses: It is best to wear sunglasses that wrap around the eyes and have 100 percent UV-blocking lenses since most sunscreens are too harsh to use on the sensitive area around the eyes.
Protect exposed skin all year round: Wear sunscreen with an SPF (Sun protection factor) of 15 to 30, depending on the season and length of exposure. Long-sleeved shirts and wide brimmed hats provide some protecton. Remember, the sun penetrates through loosely woven and wet clothing very easily, so wear sunscreen even when covered. Also apply liberally, use about one teaspoon to your face and at least one ounce (about a sot glass) to your body each day. The face and hands are high-risk areas for cancer, so apply liberally to those areas.
If you have a sensitive skin: Use a cream-based product and avoid sunscreens with tretinoin which dries the skin also look for a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic sunscreen if you have any allergies to skin products.