What does the sun do to your skin?

For decades now we have been hearing about the damaging effects of the sun, the risk of skin cancer, the long-term effects of repeated sunburn. But how dangerous is the sun and what exactly does it do to your skin?

It is important to remember is that hiding from the sun is not necessarily a good idea. The sun can actually be incredibly beneficial for your health, mood and general well-being.

When your body is exposed to the sun it produces vitamin D – the “sunshine vitamin” – which helps the body to absorb calcium, which is of course essential for the health of your bones.

You can get vitamin D from certain food sources, such as oily fish, milk, eggs and margarine, but rarely do people consume it in enough quantities to get the full effects, so moderate sun exposure can help to top up our vitamin D levels.


The sun makes you happier and more energetic

And most people will notice that they are generally more energetic when the sun is shining. This isn’t in your head – exposure to the sun boosts the levels of serotonin in your body, a compound found in your blood which affects mood, appetite, sleep, digestion and even memory. The sun makes you happier and more energetic, and regular sun exposure can even help to fight off moderate depression, particularly when combined with exercise. Seasonal affective disorder – or SAD – is a common form of depression that is directly linked to the seasons – sufferers generally experience an onset of symptoms that begin in autumn and can last all winter, until the sun makes an appearance once again. Studies have shown that even 15 minutes walking in the sun each day can provide an important boost to your mood and energy levels.

The warmth of the sun can also relieve aches and pains by warming your muscles and easing stiffness, helping to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by conditions such as arthritis, and has even shown to help skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema – conditions for which regular, controlled sun exposure is often prescribed.

The key to these health benefits, however, is moderation. Controlled exposure to the sun can do wonders but prolonged exposure and sunburn will never be good for you.


What could be worse for your skin than actual burning?

Pretty much everyone has experienced some degree of sunburn at least once in their lives – generally we complain a bit, slather ourselves in cream, and laugh it off until the next time. But when you think about it, what could be worse for your skin than actual burning? Sunburn, as we know, is caused by overexposure to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays – essentially, it is radiation burn. Within a few hours, the damaged skin becomes red, sometimes itchy, sometimes painful, sometimes even hot to the touch. In serious cases it can blister and cause you to feel dizzy, fatigued and nauseous. The damaged skin then peels off after some days.

These radical effects that can occur after even only minimal sun exposure show you the true power of the sun, and the power of the harsh ultraviolet rays which assault your skin regularly; and yes, not to mention increased risks of melanoma, basal-cell carcinoma, and squamos-cell carcinoma – the three types of skin cancer. While moderate tanning without burning can trigger the production of melanin, which is the skin’s natural defense against overexposure, both sunburn and an increase in melanin are in fact triggered by direct DNA damage.

And remember – you can still burn with sunscreen and you can still burn when it is cloudy. So don’t hide from the sun, but protect yourself – the best protection is clothing, including wide-brimmed hats; limited, controlled exposure; and a strong SPF cream.

Sunburn is a short-term effect on the skin; in the long term, too much sun can lead to photo-ageing.


Premature ageing of the skin caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation

This is the premature ageing of the skin caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation, primarily from the sun, but also from artificial UV sources. “Photo” is derived from the Greek word “phos” which means “light” – so, ageing of the skin caused by light. And we all know what this does – fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone, a loss of elasticity, a loss of radiance. Sun damage is cumulative and begins at an early age – so once these signs appear, a lot of the damage will already have been done.

Don’t panic, but start taking steps now to protect yourself. Simple additions to your daily skincare routine can work wonders both in terms of prevention and treatment.

Support for a strong epidermal barrier can help to avoid premature ageing

A strong barrier function is little known but one of the most important aspects of healthy skin. Support for a strong epidermal barrier can help to avoid breakouts, dehydration, increased skin sensitivity, and premature ageing. To ensure a strong barrier function for your skin avoid over-exfoliating, soap-based cleansers, potential irritants and allergens, while also limiting exposure to environmental influences – like sun, but including any extreme temperatures, pollution and cigarette smoke. Skin repairing ingredients are easy to incorporate into your daily skincare routine and will both assist in restoring the skin while also providing barrier protection.

Broad spectrum sun defense creams providing superior protection

For example, pHformula’s UV protect SPF 30+ and 50+ creams are broad spectrum sun defense creams providing superior protection. The approach behind them is unique, in that not only do they provide UV protection but also a peptide complex which helps to prevent DNA damage and ensure antioxidant protection. While the SPF +30 cream ensures essential hydration and contains rosehip oil, which is rich in antioxidants helping to combat the effect of free radicals, the SPF 50+ provides superior protection while reducing inflammation and preventing dryness.

And there are certain key products you can use to fight the signs of photo-ageing – pHformula’s Vita C cream being one. Vitamin C is essential in preventing and treating the signs of ageing, especially signs caused by sun damage. The cream is light and provides 24-hour moisture while prescription strength magnesium ascorbyl phosphate tackles the signs of photo-ageing head on.


Give your skin a powerful boost

If you want to give your skin a powerful boost while both repairing and protecting, pHformula has designed a product that does just this. The P.O.W.E.R essence tonic is as powerful as it sounds, working hard to leave your skin firm, hydrated, and refreshed. It is quickly absorbed and primes the skin to better absorb other products – while protecting your skin all day long. The 3D Hydra Complex – pHformula’s innovative delivery vehicle – is enriched with long chain filmogenic polymers that capture and retain moisture; a sophisticated anti-ageing complex that protects against free radical damage; extracts to strengthen the ability of the skin to regenerate cells, protecting from DNA damage; and even a skin brightening complex.


Protect the skin from further damage

So while it works away, you can rest assured your skin will appear brighter, tighter and more radiant and also know that it is being protected from further damage.

By all means, enjoy the sun. It gives us heat and light and energy. Without the sun, our world would be lifeless, grey and coated in ice. But be aware of its power and respect the damage it can do to your skin by protecting yourself.

Talk to us at pHformula.