Sitting out in the sun can feel great and give your body and brain a boost of vitamin D. What’s not so great is what it does to your skin. If you love getting a tan, then it might be a big surprise to find out that that glowy tan is actually sun damage.
Here’s everything you need to know about the sun, your skin and how to keep it protected from damage.
How the sun damages your skin
Let’s start with the science bit. Sunlight contains two different types of UV radiation: UVA and UVB rays. Both of these types of radiation can damage your skin in different ways. UVB can make your skin burnt, red and painful whereas UVA can get deeper into the skin and cause DNA damage, leading to serious issues like skin cancer.
Most of us have had sunburn at some point, unfortunately. It’s an immediately visible sign of sun damage that leads to red, swollen and painful skin that feels hot to the touch. If you get serious sunburn you can also get blisters and sun stroke too. This can lead to peeling in the short term and in the longer term can dry out your skin and cause premature ageing, pigmentation issues (like age spots) and dull skin.
Sun damage also slows down the speed that your skin renews itself, leading to a build up of old skin cells that can leave the skin looking flat, dull and congested - the total opposite to what most of us want when it comes to our skin.
Another side effect of the sun can be skin discolouration. Again, the opposite of the smooth, even skin tone that most of us are looking for. Darker spots can appear on the skin because UV light makes the skin overproduce melanin (the part of the skin that’s responsible for pigment) to try and protect itself from damage. It’s usually uneven and in smaller areas.
If you’re into skincare, you’ll know that collagen and elastin are a big deal for your skin. They keep it looking youthful, bouncy and hydrated. Guess what? Sun damage can deplete both of these skin health essentials, leading to wrinkles, fine lines and a loss of skin elasticity. It also means duller, drier skin. Not good.
How to protect your skin from sun damage
As with most things, prevention is far better than cure when it comes to the sun and your skin. Protecting your skin with a high factor that’s been formulated to use on your face is a daily essential. Whatever your skin type, tone or age, if you’re heading outside then SPF is one of the best ways to protect your skin, along with covering up. The higher the factor the better.
The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ is a cult-classic facial sunscreen for a reason. It’s SPF 50+ so provides protection for every shade of skin, without leaving a white cast on the skin. It absorbs into the skin straight away, with a light, serum-like texture that doesn’t leave any greasy residue behind it and works for every skin type. Plus you can wear it under your makeup without it beading, pilling or affecting the longevity of your makeup. We love!
FYI, it’s usually better to use separate sun protection rather than relying on other skincare or makeup products that contain SPF. These aren’t always as effective as a specially-formulated sunscreen that’s been designed to keep your skin protected and healthy.
Make sure you apply sunscreen to anywhere that’s exposed to the sun too - signs of ageing and skin damage don’t just happen on your face. Your neck, chest, hands, arms, legs and feet can all show signs of skin damage too.