Almost 60% of your Skin Undergoes Sun Damage in Fall: Is it True?
It’s the season to pull out your winter coats, boots, and mittens! Think it’s also that time of the year when you can keep your sunscreen in the closet? WRONG!
The sun is your skin’s worst enemy, and it can cause skin damage and speed up skin aging even during the winter months when the sun seems to be covered up. In fact, sun exposure during the winter months can even cause your skin harm more than it can at any other time of the year.
How Sun Exposure even in Winter can Damage your Skin?
Sun exposure means subjecting your skin to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation which catalyzes a chain of chemical reactions on skin that eventually lead to oxidative stress. While these chemical reactions happen, free radicals from UV radiation penetrate the skin, quickly overwhelming healthy skin cells and ending up damaging them.
The skin’s natural reaction is to protect itself from the impending damage, causing skin cells to release more melanin, an enzyme that gives pigment to the skin. The dreary results: rougher, darker, thicker, drier, and older skin.
Of particular interest are UVA and UVB radiation. UVA can easily penetrate the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, causing damage to the skin’s surface and, more seriously, damages skin cells deep within. UVA rays account for approximately 95 per cent of sun rays that reach the Earth’s surface. UVB, on the other hand, cannot penetrate the skin deeply and mostly causes damage only on the epidermis still, UVB rays can cause permanent damage to your skin. Exposure to UVA and UVB rays are a defining factor in the development of skin cancer.
Some Facts You Must Know About Sun Exposure During The Winter Months Are Enumerated Below:
- Uva Radiation Is High In The Winter Causing More Damage To Your Skin Cells
According to the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology, the UV levels increase between 50 per cent to 90 per cent as a result of snow cover. The effects are more intense on fresh snow as compared to older snow.
- Sun Damage is Cumulative
Whether you were exposed to winter or summer sun does not matter. What you must know is that sun damage accumulates on your skin. While some effects may be temporary, most are permanent.
- Cloudy Weather Does Not Offer Much Protection
Thin clouds allow UV rays to penetrate directly on the Earth’s surface. However, the thicker the cloud cover, the more effectively it is that UV radiation is absorbed and reflected back to the Earth’s surface.
- Higher Altitudes Mean Dramatically More Uv Radiation
Being on higher altitude means physically becoming closer to the sun. More importantly, air at higher altitudes is thinner and incorporate very little amount of pollutants that let UV rays easily pass through. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology estimates that for every 300 meters rise in altitude, a corresponding four per cent increase in UV levels occurs.
Increased moles, freckles, age spots, broken blood vessels, and general skin roughness are but some of the permanent damages that sun exposure can cause your skin. The general skin impact: premature aging for otherwise young, healthy skin and even more visible damages to already aging skin.
Tips to Prevent Skin from Sun Damage During Winter
Never again fall into the deception that UV rays are not a significant skin concern during the winter months. Below are five tips to help you combat increased UV radiation during winter.
1. Wear Sunscreen
Wear a broad spectrum, SPF30 sunscreen everyday. Yes, even when it’s rainy or cloudy and most especially during fall. Look for sunscreens with sheer waterproof formula that absorbs quickly into skin and contains no drying alcohol. One such product is Solvaderm’s Dermaxsol. It hydrates your skin while helping to defend against sunburn.
2. Say No to Tanning Beds
Stay away from tanning beds. Sun tan, even when acquired by lying indoors inside a tanning bed, unnecessarily exposes your skin to radiation. The effects of the blue light in tanning beds are similar to the effect of exposing your skin to the sun’s actual UV rays.
3. Don’t Let Aging Signs Ruin Your Appearance
Pay attention to early signs of sun damage. Wrinkles, sun spots, skin discoloration or, any change spotted on your skin must be taken seriously, and immediate remedy must be applied accordingly.
4. Wear Safe
Wear good sunglasses. Also, put on any other additional physical barrier to give your skin added protection from the sun, like a broad-brimmed hat or long sleeved shirt.
5. Cover Up
Use sun protection on lips and eyes. Skin on your lips and eyes are thinner than on the rest of your face. Use a lip balm and an eye cream infused with sunscreen to get that protection and moisturization specially formulated for your lips and eyes.
Protecting your skin from sun damage could be the most important TLC you can give to your skin. If you have to drop every other skincare regimen but one, for whatever reason it may be, never pass up on sunscreen.