The effect of the sun on the skin of the body – Prevention and protection against harmful UV rays
In our daily life we protect our bodies from the sun by covering them with clothing. The only time we think about sun protection is when our bodies are fully exposed, on vacation, for long periods of time. However, it is important to protect the skin of the body whenever it is exposed to UV rays, be it on a sunny day or, for example, when we wear short-sleeved tops, shorts or skirts.
Signs and symptoms
How to recognize sun damage on the skin of the body
Body skin differs in several ways from facial skin:
- Lack of direct exposure to the environment means that body skin has a lower rate of skin cell turnover than facial skin. There is less natural exfoliation, so the skin on the body tends to be thicker and flaky.
- The upper layer of facial skin has smaller cells than in other parts of the body. The presence of smaller cells means a lower barrier so that water is lost more quickly from the face than from the body.
- While the facial epidermis is approximately 0.12 mm thick, that of the body is on average around 0.60 mm. This thickness can lead to a build-up of dead skin cells and bacterial growth.
Body skin requires a different sun protection than facial skin. Face protection is designed to address the specific needs of thinner and more exposed skin. May also contain dyes to provide an even complexion.
Summer acne (also known as Mallorca acne)
Unlike acne vulgaris, this eruption of red, inflamed lesions is not caused by hormonal changes and bacteria, but by the skin’s reaction to hot solar radiation and certain components of the skin care products and sunscreens. Summer acne is very similar to EPL and it can be difficult to tell the difference between them.
Atopic dermatitis / Psoriasis
Sun protection is also important for people affected by atopic dermatitis and psoriasis because the skin is already dry. Topical medications can make the affected skin more susceptible to sunburn. Read more about Atopic Dermatitis or Psoriasis.
The skin of a diabetic person fixes water less efficiently than the skin of a healthy person. Moisture deficiency often causes severe itching, which can affect the entire body. Sunlight dries out the skin further, making it more susceptible to infection. The reduced perception of pain experienced by diabetics increases the risk of solar flare.
There are four types of cancer or precancer associated with UV rays. Actinic keratosis appears as a small rough, raised area on the skin that has been exposed to the sun for a long period of time. Some actinic keratoses can progress to a type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It presents as open sores, red plaques, pink growth, shiny bumps, or scars. Squamous cell carcinoma presents as a persistent red, squamous plaque that may bleed if it becomes severe. It is the second most common skin cancer in white people. Finally, the most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma. Although most melanomas are black or brown, they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue, or white.
If you have any concerns about your skin, it is important to see a dermatologist.
Proper sun protection on the body can help prevent a number of skin conditions:
UVB rays are responsible for solar flare, an acute damage caused by UV radiation. Although they penetrate less deeply into the skin, they are the main cause of direct DNA damage. Unprotected skin can show redness, blisters, and extreme pain. This is especially dangerous in children and adolescents as it increases the risk of developing epithelial skin cancer and malignant melanomas later in life. Read more about protecting children from sunburn.
Premature skin aging
The formation of deep wrinkles and loose, inelastic skin tissue is one of the negative effects of sunlight. Read more about premature skin aging .
Hyperpigmentation / Dark Spots
Excessive sun exposure is the number one cause of hyperpigmentation, a harmless but unsightly skin condition that causes dark spots to appear on the skin. Read more about hyperpigmentation.
Polymorphous photodermatosis (PLE)
The skin of the body, which is usually covered, can react when exposed to the sun, for example, in the spring or during holidays. This condition characterized by a rash accompanied by itching and burning, is known as EPL.
Causes and Triggers
What to do to minimize the risk of sun damage
The best way to prevent sun-related skin conditions is to avoid sun exposure where possible. As this is not always possible, or desirable, the next aspect is sun protection. It is important to realize that harmful rays can access the skin even on cloudy days, in the shade and in the water, so it is necessary to mentalize about it beyond the hours dedicated to sunbathing.
While sunlight has many positive effects such as mood improvement, vitamin D production, better circulation and increased melanin production, to prevent damage to the skin the harmful effects of UVA rays (eye injury) must be avoided. , immunosuppression, premature aging of the skin, genetic mutations (melanoma), allergy and intolerance to the sun) and UVB rays (eye damage, tanning (Asian skin), solar erythema and genetic mutations / skin cancers other than melanoma) .
The negative effects of UVA and UVB rays can be minimized with the following:
- Avoid direct sun, especially extensive exposure between 11 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.
- Use sunscreen generously and repeatedly.
- Protect children from direct sun exposure.
- Consider individual skin types and the implications of each.
- Wear suitable clothing or hats.
- Know the impact of medications on solar tolerability.
What factors increase the risk of sun damage
Some people are more prone to skin damage and sun-related skin conditions than others. This can be reduced to a number of factors including:
• Hormonal influences
A particular type of hyperpigmentation , known as melasma or chloasma, is more common in women as it is thought to appear when female sex hormones stimulate the hyperproduction of melanin when the skin is exposed to the sun.
If one or both parents have had skin cancer, there is a greater chance that their children are at the same risk.
The risk of cancer increases with age. Melanoma, which can appear anywhere on the body, is more prevalent between 55 and 64 years of age than in younger people.
Some medications, including some birth control pills and antibiotics, can increase the skin’s sensitivity factor and susceptibility to pigment disorders.
• Postdermatology treatments Chemical
peels and laser treatments can make the skin feel red and very sensitive to the sun
• Skin color
People with red or light blonde hair, very pale skin ton, or many freckles are more likely to have sunburn, and are less likely to tan.
• Existing conditions
People suffering from Psoriasis or Atopic Dermatitis tend to have dry and sensitive skin and therefore need special sun care.
• Summer acne
This skin reaction mainly affects young and middle-aged women (25-40)
It is extremely important to prevent and protect the skin against sun damage, because if the damage is too severe, the skin is not able to repair it by itself, and the damage becomes irreversible.
Creams and lotions for prevention and protection
To protect body skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation:
- Use the correct sun protection factor.
- Use the correct amount of sunscreen.
- Apply and reapply sunscreen after a few hours to maintain skin protection, especially after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
The Eucerin line for body sun protection uses a unique combination of UV filters plus the biological protection of Licochalcone A. The highly effective and photostable filter system with Tinosorb S reliably protects against sunburn while Licochalcone A provides an effect antioxidant to protect skin cells against sun-induced and free radical damage.