We can caution our male Vancouver skin treatment clients about the risks the sun poses to their skin until Joan Rivers stops having facelifts (and that could be awhile), but so many of you still aren’t wearing sunblock every day. Apparently, men are particularly negligent in the area of skin protection and run a great risk of having sun damaged skin, including sagging, wrinkles, spots and cancer.
Maybe it’s because you don’t really understand what the sun does to your beautiful, healthy skin “man-skin“.
When ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, reaches the skin, it damages the fibers called, elastin.
Elastin is a protein in the skin that is elastic, so if you pinch your skin and let it go; it’s the elastin that allows it to snap back into its original form. As these fibers break down, your skin sags, stretches and loses its ‘snap back’ ability. It also damages your collagen which you are producing less and less of as you age so we can’t afford to push that process along.
Also, by damaging the elastin, your skin will tear and bruise more easily and heal more slowly. Not pretty huh? So this is the main reason that sun-worshippers wrinkle faster. It takes years to see the damage on the surface, so the sooner you give up baking yourself, the longer you will look good!
The sun also causes pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions because the sun damages the skin’s immune function. Like those rosy cheeks you’re getting? Chances are that pink is caused by dilation of tiny blood vessels…also a side effect of sun exposure. How about the freckles and sunspots that weren’t there a few years ago? Yep, all caused from the sun.
Tanning beds are not any better for you. They do the same damage as the sun (and they leave that ridiculous white spot on your tailbone).
Although it’s hard to believe, the sun’s harmful UV rays are the same in winter months and under on overcast day. Just because you can’t see the sun, doesn’t mean it isn’t still destroying your skin.
How much does sunscreen protect skin?
Sunscreen absorbs UV rays and prevents them from penetrating the skin. You want to get a sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays (usually labelled “broad spectrum”).
- SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93% of UVB rays.
- SPF 30 and higher sunscreen blocks 97% of UVB rays. They are not twice as effective as SPF 15.
No sunscreen provides 100% protection for your skin, so use sunscreen as well as hats, clothing, shade and sunglasses. Using sunscreen doesn’t mean you can stay in the sun longer, it just increases you protection when you have to be out in it.
Of course, practising sun avoidance is your best bet but that’s not always possible so the LEAST you can do is get yourself a sunscreen of SPF 30, slather it on at least 20 minutes before you go outside to let it soak in. If you are going in the water then get water-resistant product or re-apply when you get out.
Sure we’ve got skin treatments that will help reduce some of the damage the sun can cause but if you became ‘sun smart’ today, think of what it would save you and your skin.
by M. Wally
Age is a state of mind. Aging is a treatable condition.