No doubt the warmth of the sun does feel good to us. The glow it provides to the skin does look healthy in the short term. With that said, significance of short term doesn't matter. It is the long term that has the most significant effect on your skin. When the short term, aesthetic effect of the healthy glow is gone, will you see the damaged skin left behind. Exposure to sun causes dryness, wrinkles and age spots on our faces. Using the appropriate sun block protection and limiting sun-exposure on a daily basis is key to maintaining a youthful, true healthy glow to the face. Dryness, freckles and wrinkles pave the way to looking older than what you are.
We falsely associate a sun kissed glowing complexion with good health. But in reality, the tan that your seeing is skin damage. The sun's UV rays penetrate the skin damaging not only the top layer of skin but the deep fibers in the skin called elastin and collagen. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, cause lines, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. This damage is irreversible. The skin bruises more easily taking longer to heal. Sun damage also causes
the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin.
Recently the FDA elevated tanning booths: I prefer to call them tanning coffins, from a low to moderate risk of causing skin cancer to moderate to high risk of causing skin cancer. Going to the tanning salon to get a base tan isn't any safer than going outside for a natural tan. You are just unwisely overdosing on UV rays. As you age, the sun damaged skin will definitely show later in life. What you do today determines your health later in life.
Walking to the car and driving in the car exposes your skin to enough UV rays to cause damage. Applying sun block year round will limit the amount of UV rays penetrating the skin.
If you spend a great deal of time outside during peak hours, you are at risk of the suns damaging effects. It is wise to use sun block, wear long sleeve shirts and a hat. Re-apply sun block as needed.
Taking time to care for your skin is part of living a healthy lifestyle.
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN