Prevent sun damage this summer by explaining to a dermatologist why the summer sun is so dangerous for your skin.
As a dermatologist, I want to explain summer sun damage to help you prevent its accumulation this summer. It is important to know that in summer the sun is very close to you if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. Understand why it is so important that you are ready before setting off for the wonderful warmth of summer. Know that the closer the sun is to you, the more sun damage your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays. I will explain how and why this is important.
Did you know that the summer solstice marks every year a date when the sun is closest to your skin in the northern hemisphere?
The summer solstice is always June 21st, and it represents the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours. In the days before and after the solstice, the highest risk of sun damage to the skin from ultraviolet radiation. After the solstice, the weather actually heats up more than before, due to lagging in the earth and oceans that release their heat. This means that now until August you will be playing outdoors warm and swimming in intense UVB. You need a ready-made sun protection strategy right now!
Why is UVB intensity worse during the summer solstice?
UVB is usually absorbed by the ozone layer of the Earth. As a dermatologist, I have explained to my patients many times that in the summer, the UV ray does more damage to the sun due to the shorter path of the sun's ray through ozone. When the sun is directly above your head, the rays penetrate the ozone perpendicularly, not tangentially. This makes the path through the ozone straight and short. Thus, fewer UVB rays are absorbed by the longer ozone path than in winter. This is why the sun feels stronger and burns in the summer – more ultraviolet light harms your skin and absorbs less ozone.
I created this chart because, as a dermatologist, I wanted to better explain why summer sun damage is so dangerous that I can help you prevent it. UVB, ozone and summer are really important for understanding. In the above diagram, you can conceptually see how fewer UV rays are absorbed during a shorter summer perpendicular passage through the ozone ring of our Earth compared to winter tangential transit. UVA is not affected by the path length through ozone because it is not absorbed by it. UVC is completely blocked by ozone and does not reach your skin when you are standing on the ground. (An interesting fact: in the upper stratosphere of the Earth, for example, when you fly by plane, there is UVC (which is very harmful for your skin).)
Why is UVA equally intense in summer and winter?
UVA is not absorbed when passing through ozone, so UVA is almost as intense in winter as in summer. UVA feels softer and stings less, making you think it's safer. It is still not safe though. UVA rays transmit their energy to deeper layers of the skin, causing wrinkles and thinning of the skin. You also have moles (melanocytes), and exposure to UVA can increase the risk of these cells turning into melanoma.
Why is UVB harmful to your skin?
This is a ray of sunburn. It transfers most of its energy to the surface of your skin (called the epidermis), causing the appearance of sun spots, skin cancer, thinning of the skin, uneven skin pigment, “peeling and weathering” and general skin damage by the sun.
Both UVB and UVA lead to premature skin aging. 90% of skin aging is sun damage, not years.
Establish a sun protection strategy right now, and then go outside in the weather after the summer solstice and have fun!
Dermatologist consultation on sun protection for the summer sun
- Wear sunscreen. This will reduce the amount of skin in need of sunscreen.
- Protect your open skin with mine ASK. Steps:
Use sunscreen with mineral zinc and reapply as recommended for long sunny hours. This has proven the trust of my patients and clients – and me! Add mineral makeup if you wear it for a second protective shield.
shadow your skin. Create a shadow with a hat, sunglasses and a proven sun umbrella. Look for a shadow too. Bonus – you will feel cooler and fresher than if you stayed in direct sunlight!
know Your exposure risk. You can use the Detecto Ring to find out how tricky UV rays are when reflected in your shade. Believe me, this Detecto ring is funny – children really love it when they learn about being in the sun and where the sun's rays hide.
I put it all together for you with my sun sets. Get the sun protection that I use for my own fair skin.
After reading my dermatologist’s explanation about summer sun damage and how to prevent it, was it helpful? I hope so. I have another useful tool that will help you take good care of your skin this year.
This is my Sunscreen infographics. I did it for you, and I invite you to share with friends and family on facebook or Pinterest, Help everyone remember the best way to protect your skin from the sun while enjoying the warm summer weather.
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