Summer is here and after a long year cooped up inside on Zoom, we can’t wait to get outside and get some sun! What we may have forgotten after time away from the sun is how to take care of our skin while basking in those warm rays. There are plenty of good reasons to spend time outside (like improved mood and vitamin D), but there are also a few risks, which, if we aren’t careful, can become pretty dangerous.
So let’s talk about what sun damage is and how we can treat it.
Most of us have had at least one bad sunburn. You know the type: red skin, itching, peeling. Maybe it's even been hard to sit. But what actually happens to your skin when it burns?
The body’s inflammatory response is always ready to fight danger, whether that’s bacteria in a cut, viral particles in the air, or even allergens. Well, this applies to the skin and sun too. When the skin is exposed to UV rays, the body fights back with the first stage of inflammatory response: dilating the blood vessels. This is what causes us to go a little pink. Then, to prevent UV rays from getting further into the body and damaging DNA, the body produces melanin, which also causes us to tan.
Peeling is yet another tool in the body’s self-defense tool kit. Peeling is the body’s attempt to get rid of any skin cells that may be damaged and at risk of becoming cancerous.
The body does its best to protect us, but if it can’t cope with the amount of exposure (ie: too much time in intense sun) damage to DNA can occur, which is part of what can lead to cancer.
On a cosmetic level, getting dried out during sunburn is what leads to wrinkles and thin skin.
While we wish we could say that a sunburn here and there isn’t dangerous, unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Just one bad sunburn can put you at risk for cancer.
And let’s be clear: the sunburn itself isn’t what’s dangerous. The sunburn is your body’s protection against what’s really harmful: UV exposure. UV rays are what can alter DNA leading to cancerous cells. When you get a bad sunburn, especially one that peels, you know that your body is fighting back harder because of too much UV exposure.
Sunburn isn’t the only damage the sun causes. While it may be the most immediate and noticeable, sun damage often appears years after time in the sun. Other signs of sun damage include:
Sun exposure also breaks down collagen, one of the most abundant proteins in the skin. Collagen is the glue that holds skin together, forming its scaffolding and working hard to moisture. When collagen breaks down we are left with dry, wrinkled, sagging skin. Prolonged sun exposure can also slow down our collagen production, which already slows down with age.
While you may not be able to totally reverse sun damage, you can treat it with the help of a dermatologist and a better sun routine.
First, if you experience a bad sunburn, stay out of the sun for a few days. Your skin is doing its best to fight the damage and doesn’t need to be overloaded with more UV rays. Then make sure to get lots of moisture. Drink plenty of water and apply moisturizer and aloe.
The body attempts to reverse visible skin damage by removing iffy skin cells through peeling. Dermatologists believe you could help this process through chemical peels and laser treatments.
Other treatments that may be helpful for treating aging, damaged skin include topical retinoids which are known for increasing skin cell and collagen production.
Unfortunately, when it comes to DNA, the damage is done. Once DNA has been changed by UV rays, the only way to reverse that damage is to destroy that cell. The best thing you can do to prevent this kind of damage is by preventing sun damage at all.
When your skin has strong collagen it is more toned, firm, soft, and smooth. Supplementing with collagen gives your body the amino acids it needs to build more collagen to support healthy skin, connective tissue, and even the walls of the gut. With age and other risks like sun exposure, our collagen not only breaks down but is replaced at slower and slower rates. This isn’t great news for our skin, especially skin that has been damaged by the sun. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, you may want to try collagen. Studies have found that collagen supplementation helped subjects’ skin stay hydrated and smooth.
BUBS Naturals Fountain of Youth Collagen has been specially formulated with other ingredients your skin will love like biotin and vitamin C. Or check out our original flavor which is also available in packets for on-the-go convenience.