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If you live in Lagos or any other state in Nigeria, you will agree with me that the sun has been at its brightest the last couple of weeks. Blazing so fiery hot, the heat even when indoors has been unbearable. Thank goodness for little blessings like Ceiling fans and Air Conditioners.

If the heat were the only ‘side-effect’ of this 34 degree Celsius heat, then it won’t be so bad. When you think about the very real and damaging effects of the sun on our skin, you may want to rethink your skincare choices accordingly.

As I usually do when confronted with issues beyond my control, I sought out #SkinExperts about sun damage on our skins and below is what I learnt.

What exactly is UV rays?

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation are actually the best source of vitamin D. Yet, too much exposure to the sun’s radiation is the major cause of sunburn, premature aging, eye damage and skin damage resulting in skin cancer. Even though UV rays make up only a very small portion of the sun’s rays, it remains the main cause of the sun’s damaging effects on the skin. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells. Skin cancer starts when this damage affects the DNA of genes that control skin cell growth.

There are 3 basic types of UV rays:

UVA rays age your skin cells and can also damage their DNA. These rays are linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles, but they are also thought to play a role in some skin cancers.

UVB rays have slightly more energy than UVA rays. They also damage the skin cells’ DNA directly, and are the main cause of sunburns. They are also thought to be the cause of skin cancers.

UVC rays have more energy than the other types of UV rays combined, but they don’t get through our atmosphere and are not present in sunlight. They are not normally a cause of skin cancer.

Both UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin and cause skin cancer. UVB rays are a more potent cause of skin cancers, and based on available medical knowledge today, there are no safe UV rays.

The strength of the UV rays reaching the ground depends on a number of factors, such as:

Time of day: UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.

Season of the year: UV rays are stronger during spring and summer months.

Distance from the equator (latitude): UV exposure goes down as you get further from the equator.

Altitude: More UV rays reach the ground at higher elevations.

The amount of UV exposure a person gets depends on the strength of the rays, the length of time the skin is exposed, and whether the skin is protected with clothing or sunscreen.


How the Sun Affects My Skin

For those of us who live in areas with year-round, bright sunlight, the ugly truth is that we have a higher risk of skin cancer. Spending a lot of time outdoors for work or recreation without protective clothing and sunscreen will also increase your risk. The pattern of exposure is also important. For example, frequent sunburns in childhood may increase the risk for some types of skin cancer many years or even decades later.

Skin cancers are one result of getting too much sun, but there are other effects as well. Sunburn is a short-term result of too much exposure to UV rays, and is  a definite sign of skin damage. Long-term exposure can cause early skin aging, wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, dark patches (lentigos, sometimes called age spots or liver spots), and pre-cancerous skin changes (such as dry, scaly, rough patches called actinic keratosis).

The sun’s UV rays increase a person’s risk of cataracts and certain other eye problems, too. They can also suppress the skin’s immune system. Darker-skinned people are generally less likely to get skin cancer than light-skinned people, but they can still get sunburn, cataracts and immune suppression.

How do I Protect My Skin from Sun Damage?

Don’t be shy with the SPF. Seasons change, and your skin is right there along with it. As i mentioned above, the sun has been blazing hotter than usual for the last couple of weeks, to protect yourself, be ready to make needed changes to your everyday skin choices. You might want to consider adding something new to your routine:

Scrub off dead cells. A little exfoliation removes dead skin cells and reveals new, fresher skin.

gold sugar scrubTry this Gold Sugar Scrub today!

If there’s a word you must now add to your vocab & beauty wardrobe – it’s SUNSCREEN. The truth is, too much sun isn’t healthy for you or for your skin. Trust me when I say:

Sunscreen Is Your Best Friend

Never let your guard down. Use an SPF of 15 or higher everyday, no matter what. Acne-prone skin will do best with an oil-free sunscreen. Check for labels that read “non-comedogenic” (don’t try to pronounce it, just look for it on the package; it won’t clog pores). Remember to reapply often and use liberally. Sunscreen comes off after a few hours of outdoor exercise or swimming. For fail-safe sun protection, apply sunscreen before you go outside, reapply every two to three hours, and don’t skimp.

Throw It Out

Don’t get sentimental about your sunscreen. That one you got in the free goody bag from that event you attended two years ago… toss it. Sunscreen should be replaced every 12 months.

Alternatively, go for a good body lotion that contains ample amounts of the much needed sunscreen. Check out Eucerin Moisturizing Body Lotion

sun hat

Hats On

Take your shade to go. A wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap makes for a cute babe; if your outfit or work environment can allow it – it doubles as a great skin-saver. Even if you cannot take it with you into the office, you can always toss it in that big beautiful handbag of yours, can’t you?


Teni Beauty

Resident Chief Editor, Signature Reporter.

Teniolami is an accomplished makeup artist and beauty therapist with almost 10years experience in the beauty industry. She is a full-time Beauty Business Coach, Brand & Product Developer, Educator and a soon to-be published Beauty Author

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