You may feel healthier with a bit of a tan, but your skin does not appreciate it. The sunlight that warms our bones and makes flowers grow contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can damage the skin.
Exposure to UV radiation from sunlight can lead to:
- Sunburn —This is the most obvious and most immediate sign of too much sun. Your skin will be red and tender, and it may swell and blister. You may even run a fever and feel nauseous from a sunburn.
- Premature wrinkling and uneven skin pigmentation—Over time, too much sun exposure will cause your skin's texture to change. The skin can become tough and leathery, and you may notice more wrinkles. In addition, the sun can cause sun spots—discolorations in the skin's tone that may be brown, red, yellow, or gray.
- Skin cancer—This is the most serious result of too much sun. The more sun exposure you have, the more your risk of skin cancer increases. Learn about the proper way to check your skin for any changes in the size, texture, or color of a mole. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you should check your skin every month.
To help protect your skin when you are in the sun, follow these simple tips:
- Try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun's rays are most damaging.
- Do not deliberately sunbathe.
- Do not use tanning devices, like tanning booths or tanning lamps.
- Always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Broad spectrum sunscreens absorb UVA and UVB rays of the sun.
- Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure. Use the amounts recommended by the manufacturer. Do not forget the back of your neck, rims of your ears, and tops of your feet. Reapply aevery two hours, or after swi