How the Sun Affects Your Skin
Updated: Apr 27
Our skin is truly fascinating…
· It is the largest organ we have
· It has three layers
· It is a natural waterproof barrier and is the reason for our skin tone
· It ages as we do
There are visible changes to the color, the feel and the elasticity of the dermis that occur over time. These changes can be explained by science, though. A study on clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology conducted in 2013 found that clinical signs of aging are mainly influenced by extrinsic factors, especially the sun. This same study found that UV exposure is responsible for 80% of visible facial aging.
When it comes to skin, aging itself is often classified into four primary categories:
Lack of firmness
Each day our skin is exposed to the sun. It’s warmth can be inviting, but user beware – too much time in the sun can have real impacts to the skin. The sun’s ultraviolet, or UV, rays are the leading cause of skin cancer and is a large contributor to premature signs of aging.
When UV rays from the sun hit the skin, it reacts with melanin. This is what your body produces to defend damage to the cells from sun. Melanin, however, is not unlimited. Once it runs out, the skin can actually become damaged by the sun... aka sunburn.
Overexposure to the sun can really hinder your chances of maintaining a youthful appearance. Too much sun can increase the chances of fine lines, age spots/discoloration, red patches, leathery finish, and dreaded wrinkles.
But don’t panic because you’ve got options. Since it’s understandable that it is ultimately impossible to avoid the sun altogether (especially here in South Florida), there are things we can do to help limit the effects the sun has on our skin.
Potentially the most obvious thing you can do is limit the amount of extended exposure you have to sun. If you can avoid peak sun hours (typically from 10am to 4pm), that is definitely a plus. This is when the sun’s rays are the most intense.
Another precaution we can take is to wear sunscreen, EVERY DAY. Doctor Jean-Paul Azzi is a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Palm Beach, Florida and is no stranger the super steamy temperatures of Florida. He recommends applying a generous amount of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day.
If you’re in the sun for extended periods of time, Dr. Azzi recommends reapplying sunscreen every few hours. If you can wear sunscreen and protective pieces of clothing, even better. If it’s at all possible, try to wear a hat to protect the face and sunglasses as another barrier to the sun.
Finally, never use tanning beds. Tanning beds still emit UV rays and they are definitely not a safer alternative to natural tanning.
If you’re not sure you’re using the right products, or taking the necessary precautions, consult a professional.
If you’re already noticing the effects of too much sun and you want an expert opinion on how to address it, Doctor Jean-Paul Azzi is a double-board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with offices conveniently located in different South Florida areas.
Give Dr. Azzi’s office a call to schedule a virtual or in-person consultation: (561) 429-5403 or click here to contact us.