You can sense the burning effect of UVB rays on your skin as they penetrate the outer layers of your skin (epidermis). This penetration can lead to damage of melanocyte cells, resulting in the formation of light or dark patches on the skin, which we refer to as pigmentation. If a melanocyte cell becomes damaged, it can increase the risk of melanoma. Additionally, if it harms your stem cells, it may lead to basal cell carcinoma.
UVA rays can also penetrate and harm various areas within the epidermis. However, it can go even deeper into the dermal tissue, where two essential proteins, collagen, and elastin, are produced. UVA rays can break down this network, accelerating the aging process. Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays do not produce a sensation of heat on the skin, so we may not feel their effects. It’s important to note that UVA remains at the same strength throughout the day, even on cloudy days, until sunset.
The best way to protect yourself from sun damage is to apply an effective daily sunscreen. However not many people know that there are two different types of sunscreens available. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide which is the most appropriate sunscreen for your skin:
Chemical Sunscreens contain active ingredients that absorb the UV rays into the skin and convert them into heat to neutralise UV radiation. This reaction in the skin also produces free radicals which can cause cell trauma but remains effective protection against sun burn. These sunscreens typically include ingredients such as avobenzone, octisalate and oxybenzone.
Physical Sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, contain active ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They work by creating a physical barrier that blocks, reflects, and scatters UV rays away from the skin. These sunscreens have improved their formulations, having thinner consistency than before, feel great on the skin without leaving white residue or chemicals. Don’t forget mineral make-up which is also great for added protection from the harsh summer rays.
The SPF (sun protection factor) you select should depend on how easily the natural colour of your skin burns. SPF measures the level of protection a sunscreen provides against UVB and UVA rays. Here is a guide to select a suitable SPF sunscreen based on the level of protection offered and most importantly don’t forget to reapply!
- SPF 15+ – average of 93.0%
- SPF 30+ – average of 96.7%
- SPF 50+ – average of 97.8%
If you experience sunburn or already suffer from pigmentation and discolouration due to sun exposure, we have a range of products and in-clinic treatments to help:
- Severe Sunburn – Once the heat in the skin has subsided, the following day or 3 days later, specialised mask, skincare and LED light treatment will calm and hydrate the skin with the added benefit of ATP energy to accelerate healing.
- Pigmentation resulting from severe sunburn – Once the skin has healed and you are left with discolouration or pigmentation, we can treat the area with a combination of medical microneedling, diamond dermabrasion, skin peels and LED light therapy in conjunction with recommended skincare depending on the type of pigmentation.
No discolouration or sun damage treatment would be complete without preventing future damage. Book in for a consult to discuss your treatment needs, in addition to skincare and sunscreen that’s right for you.
I know we all need that sunlight fix which is no surprise as it increases the brain’s release of Serotonin, the ultimate mood booster that keeps us calm and provides absorption of Vitamin D to strengthen our bones and immune system. So, when you are out in the sunshine, ensure you apply appropriate sunscreen to protect your face, neck, and chest.