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 sun exposure 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. Effects of sun exposure There are some long-lasting effects of sun exposure, including fine lines, deeper wrinkles, a thickened skin texture and easy bruising on sun-exposed areas. When your body defends itself against UV rays, your skin tans or darkens which admittedly, we do like a little of. But, too much sun exposure allows UV rays to reach your inner skin layers. You know this as sunburn. Not only does this give you a rather un-welcome red tint on the outer skin surface, this can also cause catastrophe on the inside where skin cells die, damage, or develop cancer. It really is serious stuff. When your skin gets burnt after prolonged sun exposure, white blood cells help create new cells. Doing this can put your immune system at risk in other areas. Then there are the after-effects of ageing and leathery skin with dark spots. 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. Image source: https://suntribesunscreen.com/ 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 hyper-pigmentation. Sun is the number one culprit when it comes to hyper-pigmentation so pop on your widest brimmed hat (your on-trend), seek that shade and always team with an SPF! How to treat melasma and pigmentation IPL photorejuvenation If you feel it’s time to seek a little support for these conditions, we recommend IPL photorejuvenation for an ultimate treatment. It breaks down the pigment, then lifts the pigment off the surface of the skin, to leave a beautiful, clear and fresh complexion, age spot free! From cheeks and nose to full face and hands, your skin will look young again and feel renewed. Direct Needle Therapy Direct Needle Therapy is another skin rejuvenation treatment that also helps with reduction in appearance of melasma. The treatment utilises the body’s own healing technique to break down any scar tissue or patches of discolouration and allows the skin to repair itself as new. At home skincare for treating melasma and skin pigmentation To rid hyper-pigmentation from the comfort of your bathroom, we can’t go past the Ultraceuticals Brightening Serum. This is an award winning serum, and it’s not hard to see why. The 5 in 1 action serum helps reduce the appearance of mild to advanced hyper-pigmentation, meaning you can start working on your glow from your own home. This unique formula features proven skin brighteners Oxyresveratrol, Bearberry extract and Melissa Officinalis with powerful exfoliants to both buff and brighten skin. Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Serum is another great topical serum that helps diminish unsightly sunspots. This serum is designed to give you a visibly brighter, smoother and more refined complexion. Regular use of just 2-3 drops each application will dramatically diminish the look of discolouration and pigmentation and reveal a brighter, smoother, strengthened and clarified complexion and will enhance the benefits of other products in your skincare regimen. Our top tips for sunburn recovery Even though you might have been on point with the majority of your skincare protection this summer, we do understand that sunburn can be a sneaky culprit and catch you out when you least expect it. Spending too much time in the sun without proper protection is a sure-fire way to get sunburnt skin, especially with New Zealand’s intense sun rays. And if you’ve ever had sunburnt skin, you’ll know it’s painful, and definitely not worth the extra time in the sun. If you did get a little too much ‘colour’ over the holiday period, try these tips to recover. Recover Following sun damage, your skin is in desperate need of hydration to help it with the repair and recovery process. Using a product like Ultraceuticals SunActive Face and Body Recovery Cream will help look after your sun damaged skin. The fast-acting formula contains ingredients like soy bean extract and Vitamin E to reduce irritation caused by sun exposure. Pure aloe vera is also a very soothing way to hydrate and soothe burnt skin. Cool Use cold damp towels for 10 -15 minutes on affected areas a few times a day to release some of the heat (like you would any other burn). Alternatively, take a cool refreshing bath and add a few ingredients to the water like lavender oil (relieves sting), baking soda (helps with irritation and redness), and apple cider vinegar (acts as a topical anti-inflammatory). Hydrate Sunburns can lead to dehydration so drink lots of water in the first few hours after the initial burn. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol which will dehydrate you even further. Rest Try not to touch the affected areas, unless it’s to apply an after sun cream, as this will only seek to irritate your skin further. Wear loose clothing to avoid any painful contact with heavy or itchy fabrics, and of course do not exfoliate your skin until well after it’s fully recovered. Tempting as it may be, make sure not to pop any blisters – they’re there for a reason! Your skin will heal itself with due time. Shelter It may seem obvious, but staying out of the sun while your skin is repairing is essential for proper recovery from sun damage. If you are feeling very ill, dizzy, weak, nauseous get in touch with a health professional.