While many of us wear sunscreen during the summer months ... we should wear sunscreen every day of the year. Come rain or shine, when we are outside, we are constantly being exposed to UV radiation.
Sunscreen can protects our skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which come in two forms – UVA and UVB rays.
- UVA rays are most commonly associated with skin aging; these beams cause fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots that make skin look prematurely older. UVA rays have the ability to pass through glass, meaning our skin is exposed to them while we are driving and standing or sitting in front of windows with the blinds open.
- UVB rays are the ones most commonly associated with sunburns. Unlike UVA rays, UVB beams cannot pass through glass. Both UVA and UVB rays are carcinogens (cancer-causing).
Why Wear Sunscreen?
Besides protecting you from sunburn, why should we wear sunscreen?
1. Sunscreen helps prevent skin cancers.
UV radiation is the top risk factor causing skin cancers. Consistent, adequate protection from the sun’s UV rays helps lower your risk, which is why it’s critical to apply sunscreen every day.
2. Sunscreen prevents premature aging.
There is two types of skin aging: Intrinsic aging (influenced by genetics) and Extrinsic aging (induced by chronic exposure to the sun’s radiation, pollution, chemicals and other environmental factors). UV radiation causes the premature breakdown of collagen and elastin in skin, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.
3. Sunscreen reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation.
A common skin condition caused by sun exposure, hyperpigmentation is when your skin is darkened in patches due to changes in the production of melanin, which gives skin its color.
4. Sunscreen prevents inflammation of the skin.
UV radiation damages the DNA of immune-protecting cells, leading to inflammation and free radical damage to skin and within the body. Immune suppression decreases our body’s ability for these cells to protect us from skin cancers and other illnesses.
5. Sunscreen prevents sun sensitivity.
Sunscreens are particularly helpful in preventing solar irritation in people with sun-sensitive conditions, such as lupus and rosacea, where exposure to UV rays can lead to redness and burning in the skin and overall severity of these conditions.