Skin and Sun

Updated: Nov 19, 2019

Our skin constantly repairs and rejuvenates itself to avoid damage.

If we always tend to get sunburn instead of a tan, the sun will cause an inflammation in our skin within one hour of sun exposure.

The epidermis of a sun-exposed skin is essentially twenty times thicker than that of a sun-protected skin.


Humans are born with strong skin cells that divide regularly and adhere to one another, covering our bodies. However, our skin is not just a protective surface - it is a functional organ that regulates our body temperature, transmits senses and has a defensive effect, creating a pigmentation to protect sensitive genetic material from radiation. Some of its cells are like soldiers that guard against invaders and, when necessary, alert other cells to release antibodies, and to activate the body's immune system.

The more the skin performs its functions, the more it supports itself. Sebaceous glands secrete sebum to keep it oily, while an internal hydration system balances the moisture levels. The skin constantly rejuvenates and renews itself, so as to avoid damage. It releases natural antioxidants to suppress free radicals and degrades nutrients to essential molecules, giving each cell exactly what it needs.

Our reaction to sunlight depends on several factors: the amount of melanin our skin makes, how easily we tan and how many sunburns we have had in the past.

If we tend to always get sunburn and have difficulties tanning, the sun will cause inflammation in our skin within one hour of sun exposure. Other factors may also affect our response, such as specific genetic abnormalities, diseases and drugs; such as antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.

The inflammatory reaction stimulates many biochemical reactions that damage the skin, causing photoaging.

Often, these reactions are the opposite of what happens with natural aging, and the resulting change makes the skin appear older before its

time. For example, skin cells may grow faster, but they are abnormal and uneven.

Thus, the epidermis of a sun-exposed skin is in fact twenty times thicker than that of a sun-protected skin.

The most serious damage occurs deep within the dermis, the layer most destroyed by UV rays. There is overproduction of collagen fibres, but they are abnormal - they are thick and intertwined. The elastin also thickens and the walls of blood vessels dilate.

Sunlight also destroys the genetic material of growing cells, producing mutations that can lead to aging spots. In addition, it creates free radicals that destroy the lipids of the cell walls, causing moisture loss and inflammation.

Proper skin care is essential to maintaining the health and vitality of this protective organ.

To protect our skin from the sun, we must always use sunscreen products.

For more efficient use of sunscreen:

· Apply the appropriate amount of sunscreen to your skin half an hour before sun exposure, and re-apply every two hours.

· Apply sunscreen to all parts of the body, especially your face, hands and legs.

· Always check the expiry date of the sunscreen and if it has expired, replace it.

· Use the right amount to protect your skin.

· After contact with water, apply the same amount of sunscreen again, even if the packaging states that it’s waterproof.

· Apply a moisturizing, sun protective lip-balm to our lips as our lips have the same needs as our skin.

Machi Xinary

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