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Sun damage is one of the things I’m very passionate about and will try and prevent in myself and clients at all costs. This is a re-post of mine that I’ve edited.

When we ‘tan’, we get a gorgeous healthy plump looking complexion and, let’s be honest, we all look pretty damn good. The problem is that this healthy look is actually damaging our skin quite severely.

Being tanned comes back from when only the rich would go on holiday, and it was a sign of wealth and a good lifestyle. Unfortunately, this fad has very much stuck.

When our skin comes into contact with Sun Light which is properly known as UVA and UVB radiation, it cuts through our skin, damaging cells pretty damn quickly. Our body then gives the call that we’re under attack and everything goes into battle stations. Our skin immediately produces the dark colour that we see and sends it to the surface as quickly as it can.

This colour acts as an umbrella, shielding our skin from further damage whilst the body get’s to work fixing the damaged cells. That’s why after you burn, you go reaaaaaally brown, but also why you peel, as you’ve killed a huge amount of skin cells that all peel away…

So when you sunbathe for 6 hours per day on holiday or, heaven forbid, USE A TANNING BED, you’re just damaging your skin. Now when we’re younger, it looks all nice and smooth, and the colour just fades and all is well again. As sun-lovers age, their skin turns to leather, like a fine leather manbag. This is because collagen and elastin (the springy stuff in our skin that keeps everything where it is), has perished and the bodies priority is not to replace it unfortunately, it has better things to worry about. Then the skin’s ability to produce the melanin colour becomes a bit faulty and it comes up in blotches and patches, which are known as age spots.

If you don’t suffer from this yourself yet, go to Liverpool and look about (I’m sorry, bit its kind of true). So here’s info about exactly what’s going on, and how you can defend yourself, quickly, cheaply and easily. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I read that somewhere, I think, Dr Ellen Marmur’s Book? it’s good, buy it.

UV Age

These rays penetrate the skin deeper and cut through your skins support structure, this creates the lines and wrinkles we commonly associate with ageing.

UV Burn

These burn the skin, and cause it to go into a sudden repair cycle. When we tan, we are basically destroying a whole load of skin cells, and, as I said before, the skin sends colour to the surface to try and protect itself. The darker you go, the more damage you are doing.

Protection

Always use what’s called broad spectrum sunscreens, these have UVA and UVB written on the bottle. Use this every day, even in December on a day of -5 degrees, and a minimum of SPF30, just because it’s cloudy and cold, doesn’t mean your much better protected, ‘cause you ‘aint!

Much of this star rating crap and made up rubbish is just to sell the product to you, as long is its advertised as broad-spectrum, long lasting, solar resistant (cheap sunscreens can wear away in the sun, stupid, I know), and water resistant (so you don’t sweat it off, but always reapply after swimming), then with all this, you’re more or less safe.

Physical Sun Screens

These are great for really sensitive skins, as they sit on the surface and are often mineral derived. These are great for milling around doing day to day things, as they don’t offer the same heightened protection as our next type.

Chemical Sun Screens

Offer a much higher level of protection, but check your skin against them, make sure they don’t irritate you but if you’re not particularly sensitive, then this should be fine. This type is great for holidays, especially if you spend all day outside (which you shouldn’t and I’ll explain that now).

“So Thom, so we’re all going to shrivel up and go blotchy and wrinkly just by having fun, what more could you possible add to this?” Well, you also have to time how long you spend in the sun. This you do by working out your sun exposure time, against your SPF.

  • We know that you can be in the sun for around 15 minutes before the skin begins to become damaged. OK
  • Therefore, take the SPF number, for example, SPF25, and multiply that by the 15 minutes. =375minutes (around 6 and a half hours)
  • This means that you can be in the sun for around 6 and a half hours and still remain adequately protected (although in high sun, you should really not be in the long in one go)
  • After you’ve had that exposure time though, that’s it, get inside, as reapplication will do nothing, your skin has had it’s fill for the day and can take no more.

So on holiday this year. Wear a hat, wear sunglasses and WEAR AN SPF, and when you come back, to the miserable British rain, WEAR AN SPF.

Happy Sunning!


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