There are many reasons to love the sun ... We love the warmth it allows us to navigate our rivers, lakes and skies. It gives us those fuzzy feelings and gets us out more and of course, it gives life to all things on earth! But we have to be conscious of the harm it can cause if we don’t take precautions (we’re looking at you UVAs and UVBs). We want to encourage you to embrace the sun rather than hide away because that vitamin D can be blissful.
What are UVAs and UVBs
It can be all too confusing with UVAs and UVBs. What’s the difference and why are they harmful we hear you cry? Well, ultraviolet (UV) rays are emitted by the sun and can be divided into two types, UVA and UVB. Both affect the skin but in a different way and it’s important to get to grips with these when choosing the right sun protection.
Let’s start with the A’s
UVA rays are present all year round - as long as there’s daylight, there’s UVA.
And these are more of a worry as they can penetrate deep into the skin. The risks? Age damage, wrinkles, and skin cancers. The worrying thing is that you don’t feel them doing their damage. UVA rays can even penetrate glass so be wary when choosing the window seat.
And now for the B’s
The intensity of UVB rays varies depending on factors such as geographical location, time of the day and location.
UVB rays penetrate and damage the outermost layers of your skin. Overexposure causes suntan, sunburn and, in severe cases, blistering. UVB rays can damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes or on reflective surfaces like snow or ice. So don’t think it’s only the summer months that affect your skin! But despite the risk factors of UVA and UVB rays, as long as you protect your skin, you can happily enjoy the outdoors and get your glow on.
What is melasma and pigmentation?
You might have heard of skin pigmentation and chloasma… especially in a heightened hormonal time of a woman's life such as pregnancy and whilst taking the contraceptive pill (due to a constant release of progesterone). It’s a common skin disorder yet many are still not familiar with it.
Melasma typically appears for the first time between the ages of 20 and 40 and is more likely to affect those with darker skin types or tanned skin and most commonly appears on the face. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight deepens the pigmentation by activating the melanocytes to produce more melanin.
Your body produces melanin to protect you from the sun – an overproduction shows up as brown spots and hyperpigmentation. Sun is the number one culprit when it comes to hyperpigmentation so pop on your widest brimmed hat (your on-trend), seek that shade and always team with an SPF!