It’s June, the sun is finally out, and the heatwave in full flow across the UK - for at least a week. Many of us love the heat and sunshine, while others utter classic lines such as “bit hot isn’t it” before taking shelter indoors and turning the fan onto max.
While we should enjoy the sunshine and take every chance we get to be in it, it is advisable to be careful too. Like with many things in life, sunlight is good in moderation. However, too much sun, or overexposure can damage the skin both on the surface and also at a cellular level. With this in mind, we are going to take a look at the ways in which sun exposure can affect skin pigmentation. Sunlight consists of a spectrum of different rays: visible light, ultraviolet (UV) and infrared light. Each of these different rays in the light spectrum has a distinct wavelength, and can be measured in nanometers (nm) and millimeters (mm).
How do UV rays affect the skin ?
Ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye. It comes in three different forms: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC). UVA rays are less intense than UVB; they are present constantly throughout the daylight hours in a year. However, they fluctuate in strength throughout the day, noon is typically when they are at their strongest.
UVB rays help provide the energy your skin needs in order to produce vitamin D. These rays stimulate the production of melanin and help with tanning. The immediate damage from UVB rays is that it can lead to damage to the skin such as sunburn.
On the other hand, UVA rays penetrate deeper layers of skin and stimulate the production of free radicals in the skin. This can cause oxidative stress and lead to indirect DNA damage. Most commonly, UVA rays are associated with photoaging (premature skin aging), sun allergies and hyper-pigmentation (sun spots).
What are the positive & negative effects of sunlight on the skin?
Let’s start with the positive effects.
Mood Enhancement Sunlight on the skin is a great mood enhancer. This is because the rate of serotonin produced in the brain is affected by the amount of sunlight the body has been exposed to during the day.
Great Source of Vitamin D Sunlight is an important source of vitamin D; it is also essential for many vital processes in our body as it helps keep bones healthy and may even lower the risk of depression.
Whereas, the negative effects include:
Causes Sunburn Sunburn is the most common form of sun damage that is caused by UV rays. Sunburn on the skin is often characterised by red, sore and blistering skin.
Can Cause Premature Skin Ageing Skin ageing is a natural process that we sadly all go through, however it can age prematurely due to the sun. Premature ageing can cause the skin to sag and develop wrinkles before its time. In turn, this causes the free radicals to stress skin cells and breaks down collagen and elastin. Both of which are important for smooth, plump skin.
Hyper-pigmentation Hyper-pigmentation is caused by the overproduction of melanin. Melanin is a natural pigment that gives skin its colour. Often, hyper-pigmentation is triggered by a variety of factors, but the most common is due to overexposure to the sun.
Sun allergies While some allergies are genetic, many cases are triggered by UVA rays from the sun. Particularly when someone has an underlying allergy condition as their immune system identifies and reacts against areas of skin altered by the sun, causing a rash.
Sun diseases When skin is sunburnt or has cellular DNA damage this can, in the worst cases, cause skin diseases and skin cancer. There are a number of internal and external factors that can influence the way in which skin reacts to the sun’s rays.
Contact FAB Aesthetics Lounge
Take a look at our pigmentation removal page, and give us a call to our experienced team on 01204 284 900 to find out more. Our salon operates in Bolton, and we can offer a free consultation to go over everything you need to know to start your treatment. We also offer online skin advice - enquire today!