Your skin, the sun… and skin types…

Published on : 17 April 20203 min reading time

The sun is coming, the hot days are here and it makes you want to… sunbathe!

But you have to be aware that sun exposure carries risks, especially for your skin. You have to take care of your skin and be careful with the sun because repeated overexposure can cause skin cancer in the long term. With the fashion for a “healthy tan”, more and more skin cancers of this type are developing. For this reason, prevention is important.

It is important to know that we are not equal in front of its rays (see skin types), and that the “sun capital” is different according to our skin. Also, it is important to know what type of skin you have, in order to preserve this “capital” and reduce as much as possible, skin aging (because the sun accelerates skin aging) and especially the risk of cancer.

How does the skin react to the sun?

Melanocytes, which are skin cells, react to exposure to the sun and more precisely to ultraviolet rays by releasing a coloured substance, melanin. This substance is responsible for the more or less rapid pigmentation of the skin.

The sun emits two types of U.V. rays: U.V.A. and U.V.B. rays.

Depending on the type of skin you have, you will react differently: a slightly light skin will tend to redden more than tan, and a dark skin will brown and tan with less risk of sunburn. The reason for this is the natural pigmentation of your skin, i.e. the type of melanin your skin contains, which will affect its ability to absorb, or not, harmful rays.

U.V.A. rays have a rapid action on the colouring and tanning of the skin, they are largely responsible for sun allergies and above all are those that will have the most effect on skin ageing. These rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing the production of free radicals. In the event of too much exposure to the sun, these free radicals will attack the DNA, which will accelerate the ageing of the skin, making it less supple and drier, leading to the appearance of wrinkles more quickly.

To reduce the effects of free radicals, there are products that capture and deactivate them: these are food supplements based on lutein, lycopene and beta carotene (these are the vegetable pigments that give colour to carrots, tomatoes, etc.). The use of these supplements not only limits and delays ageing, but also significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer; it is advisable to take these products together with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E or selenium.

U.V.B. have a slower action on skin colouring and tanning. But they are the main cause of “sunburn”. They lead to DNA changes and can also cause skin cancer.

The reaction of skin exposed to the sun varies between individuals depending on their skin type, i.e. according to the distribution of melanin.

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