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Sun Damage: Playing it Safe, Part 1

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Finally the weather is warming up and the beaches are open, and here comes the SUN DAMAGE!

As much as I appreciate the sun and being outdoors, I am well aware of the dangers that are present from being overly exposed to sunlight. In order to avoid the dangers of UV radiation, it is absolutely essential to use sun protection products daily and not only when exposed to direct sunlight or outdoor activities. For many years the coveted glow was considered a sign of wealth, good health and beauty. A Sunburn, is a signal that the body’s natural defense system has kicked in and is fighting against the harmful rays of the sun. And contrary to popular belief, dark skin does burn too, although may not be as visible as fairer skin types.

The Sun

Sunlight is divided into two types of rays, UVA and UVB. Ultraviolet radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. UV radiation is invisible to the naked eye.
UVA rays are longer and are able to penetrate the epidermal and dermal layers more deeply. They are the main cause of photoaging, eye damage, suppressed immune system, and skin cancer.
UVB rays are the shorter rays, responsible for sunburns, skin reddening and damage to the skin’s epidermal layers. Both UVB and UVA play a significant role in the development of skin cancer and photoaging.

Sun Damage

It is well known fact that the No. 1 cause of aging is sun damage. Sun damage manifest in the skin in the form of deep wrinkles, whereas, the sun’s UVA rays has penetrated so deeply into the dermis, causing cross-linking of collagen fibers, loss of elasticity and reduction of collagen distribution. Cross-linking refers to collagen fibers breaking down and fusing back together in a crisscross pattern, which leads to reduced support and structure, ending in deep wrinkling. UVA damages skin cells causing an abnormal buildup of keratinocytes, as a result of repeated sun exposure. This overproduction of epidermal cells and stratum corneum thickness is responsible for thick, rough-textured (leathery-looking) skin.

Clients suffering from sun damage may experience dull, flaky, dehydrated skin. Dehydration is very common in sun damaged skin, a decrease in skin’s surface moisture levels. In addition, hyperpigmentation, is another culprit of sun damage, the pigment-producing process generates melanin (tan) in response to inflammation and UV exposure. Sun-induced pigment changes are called brown spots and may appear as random freckling of the nose, cheeks and forehead.

Regardless of genetics, we are all vulnerable to the dangerous effects of sun. Educating clients about excessive sun exposure is of key importance. In part 2 of this article we will learn about prevention and correction, along with effective ingredients that can help sun damaged skin and the newest innovation in sunscreen protection.



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