Editor’s Note – June, 2013 (Sun Care 101 – Part 1)
Photo By D. Baker
Sun Care 101 – Part 1
With summer just around the corner, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. Yes, this needs to be practiced regardless of the time of year, but since we are often directly exposed to the sun’s harmful rays during warmer weather, adequate protection is crucial. Any good dermatologist or plastic surgeon will tell you the key to preventing wrinkles, and other signs of aging, is protecting your skin from the sun. In the long-run, this prevention will save you time, money, and the agony of some cosmetic procedures to reduce damage.
Over the next few weeks I will unleash a series of posts answering some of your burning questions. My goal is to clear up the confusion regarding how to choose the right sunscreen for your skin tone and type, which Active Ingredients to look for, using sunscreen with makeup/skin care, and I will provide other tips on how to protect your delicate skin.
Unprotected skin starts to become damaged the moment you step outside, so I want to open this series by explaining the difference between UVA and UVB rays.
Ultraviolet A rays, also known as long-waves and the rays responsible for aging skin, are silent killers! They are separated into two wavelength ranges: UVA 1 (340-400 nanometers) and UVA 2 (320-340 nanometers). UVA 1 rays penetrate deeper than UVA 2 rays (this information will be more relevant when I discuss sunscreen ingredients). These rays deeply penetrate skin, causing cumulative damage over time and, unfortunately, we do not feel them. They do not burn skin the way UVB rays do. However, they cause skin cancer, wrinkles, and can weaken the immune system. UVA rays penetrate through clear glass, tan the skin, and are the ultraviolet rays primarily used in tanning beds. It was not until recently that researchers realized the harm UVA rays cause.
Ultraviolet B rays, also known as short-waves, are responsible for burning the epidermis. Although these rays are omnipresent, their intensity is dependant upon the time of day (they are strongest between 10 AM and 4 PM) and the season (they are most harmful during spring and summer). High altitudes and reflective surfaces such as water, light concrete, and snow can bounce UVB rays up to 80%, which means your skin receives a double dose of these rays. Similar to UVA rays, UVB rays cause skin cancer and wrinkles. Unlike UVA rays, UVB rays generally do not penetrate through clear glass.
It is important to not be fooled by cloudy or rainy days, as all ultraviolet rays penetrate clouds and damage skin even when the sun is not shining.
What are some questions you have regarding sun care? I would be more than happy to answer them for you.
Stay tuned for Sun Care 101 – Part 2.
For more information on how to protect yourself, visit: