What Does The Sun Do To Your Skin

Sun Exposure and Your Skin: 6 Things You Need to Know

5 min read

DEC 1, 2023 - by THE ONESKIN TEAM
November 30,2023
SKIN SCIENCE, SKIN CARE
What Does The Sun Do To Your Skin

Sun Exposure and Your Skin: 6 Things You Need to Know

5 min read

DEC 1, 2023 - by THE ONESKIN TEAM
November 30,2023
SKIN SCIENCE, SKIN CARE
Is the sun your friend or your foe? It’s actually more like your frenemy. On one hand, nothing says happiness quite like the feeling of warm sunlight on your skin. The unfortunate reality is that the same sun that brightens your day also ages your cells. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), sun exposure is the number one culprit for skin discolorations, wrinkles, and sagging. [1] Today, you’ll learn the 6 need-to-know facts about sun exposure and your skin (#2 might surprise you).
Is the sun your friend or your foe? It’s actually more like your frenemy. On one hand, nothing says happiness quite like the feeling of warm sunlight on your skin. The unfortunate reality is that the same sun that brightens your day also ages your cells. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), sun exposure is the number one culprit for skin discolorations, wrinkles, and sagging. [1] Today, you’ll learn the 6 need-to-know facts about sun exposure and your skin (#2 might surprise you).
01

What Does the Sun Do To Your Skin?

That golden suntan looks great today, but it will lead to sun-damaged skin tomorrow. Sun exposure, both directly and indirectly, causes damage to DNA and proteins within the skin. The sun and its UV light can harm the skin in a variety of ways, ranging from short-term damage like a red-hot sunburn to long-term consequences such as sun-damaged skin, skin cancer, and premature skin aging.
01

What Does the Sun Do To Your Skin?

That golden suntan looks great today, but it will lead to sun-damaged skin tomorrow. Sun exposure, both directly and indirectly, causes damage to DNA and proteins within the skin. The sun and its UV light can harm the skin in a variety of ways, ranging from short-term damage like a red-hot sunburn to long-term consequences such as sun-damaged skin, skin cancer, and premature skin aging.
02

What is the Relationship Between UV Rays and Skin Aging?

What does UV light do to your skin?Ultraviolet (UV) rays, a component of solar radiation, have a significant impact on your DNA, skin, and the overall aging process. The sun emits three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While UVC is mostly absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere (and unlikely to reach you), UVA and UVB rays reach the body — primarily the skin. [1]

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

UVA rays penetrate the skin much deeper than UVB rays and have a longer wavelength. Because these rays hit the deeper skin layers, the dermis, UVA rays play a significant role in skin aging, causing skin to sag and wrinkle. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength than UVA rays but are the main source of sunburns. These UVB rays injure the skin’s outer layers, thus making it the primary cause of skin cancers. What’s more, ultraviolet radiation directly damages your cellular DNA. When the damage is severe and irreparable, it can lead to mutations and cancerous growth. UV rays, infrared light, and even visible light indirectly damage DNA by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals, which cause oxidative stress within skin cells. [1]Free radicals steal electrons, resulting in a detrimental process called oxidation. Oxidation damages DNA and proteins and triggers the cellular aging processes. Fortunately, antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation and fight free radicals. In sufficient quantities, antioxidants can help repair UV-induced damage. [1]
02

What is the Relationship Between UV Rays and Skin Aging?

What does UV light do to your skin?Ultraviolet (UV) rays, a component of solar radiation, have a significant impact on your DNA, skin, and the overall aging process. The sun emits three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While UVC is mostly absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere (and unlikely to reach you), UVA and UVB rays reach the body — primarily the skin. [1]

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

UVA rays penetrate the skin much deeper than UVB rays and have a longer wavelength. Because these rays hit the deeper skin layers, the dermis, UVA rays play a significant role in skin aging, causing skin to sag and wrinkle. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength than UVA rays but are the main source of sunburns. These UVB rays injure the skin’s outer layers, thus making it the primary cause of skin cancers. What’s more, ultraviolet radiation directly damages your cellular DNA. When the damage is severe and irreparable, it can lead to mutations and cancerous growth. UV rays, infrared light, and even visible light indirectly damage DNA by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals, which cause oxidative stress within skin cells. [1]Free radicals steal electrons, resulting in a detrimental process called oxidation. Oxidation damages DNA and proteins and triggers the cellular aging processes. Fortunately, antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation and fight free radicals. In sufficient quantities, antioxidants can help repair UV-induced damage. [1]
03

What are the Long-Term Effects of Sun Exposure?

Short-term damage from UV rays darkens the skin (hence, your suntan) and causes redness. However, short-term UV ray injuries can become cumulative and have long-term results.Long-term exposure damages the DNA within skin cells, leading to mutations that can result in the development of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Prolonged UV exposure also accelerates skin aging by damaging proteins in the skin, causing wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven pigmentation. [2]Due to their harm to proteins, UV rays weaken the skin's elasticity and collagen fibers, leading to sagging and loss of firmness. UV light and sun damage are deceitful because it may take years to see the visual effects of unprotected sun exposure. The wrinkles you see today, for example, might be the result of sunburns from a decade ago. The compounding effects of UV radiation highlight the importance of consistent sun protection measures. So, it’s never too late to take action to reduce sun damage caused by UV rays.
03

What are the Long-Term Effects of Sun Exposure?

Short-term damage from UV rays darkens the skin (hence, your suntan) and causes redness. However, short-term UV ray injuries can become cumulative and have long-term results.Long-term exposure damages the DNA within skin cells, leading to mutations that can result in the development of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Prolonged UV exposure also accelerates skin aging by damaging proteins in the skin, causing wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven pigmentation. [2]Due to their harm to proteins, UV rays weaken the skin's elasticity and collagen fibers, leading to sagging and loss of firmness. UV light and sun damage are deceitful because it may take years to see the visual effects of unprotected sun exposure. The wrinkles you see today, for example, might be the result of sunburns from a decade ago. The compounding effects of UV radiation highlight the importance of consistent sun protection measures. So, it’s never too late to take action to reduce sun damage caused by UV rays.
04

Is the Sun Bad for the Skin?

The sun marks the passing of time, but it’s not as much the years that age your skin as it is the sun. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but unprotected exposure to that beautiful sun speeds up the biological age of your skin cells, causing wrinkles and pigmentation to occur before their time. UV rays activate enzymes called metalloproteinases (MMPs), which degrade collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, resulting in loss of elasticity and firmness. To add to this problem, processes that help to inhibit MMPs decrease with a person’s chronological age. Therefore, the more years you spend on earth, your body’s ability to fight these MMPs declines — adding to the acceleration of your skin’s biological age. [2]
04

Is the Sun Bad for the Skin?

The sun marks the passing of time, but it’s not as much the years that age your skin as it is the sun. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but unprotected exposure to that beautiful sun speeds up the biological age of your skin cells, causing wrinkles and pigmentation to occur before their time. UV rays activate enzymes called metalloproteinases (MMPs), which degrade collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, resulting in loss of elasticity and firmness. To add to this problem, processes that help to inhibit MMPs decrease with a person’s chronological age. Therefore, the more years you spend on earth, your body’s ability to fight these MMPs declines — adding to the acceleration of your skin’s biological age. [2]
05

From Sun-kissed to Sun-Cursed: 6 Facts About Sun Exposure

So, how can you keep your skin young without spending a lifetime hiding in the shade? With the right sun protection through an effective sunscreen. But before choosing your sunscreen, there are six things you need to know about the sun and skin damage.
05

From Sun-kissed to Sun-Cursed: 6 Facts About Sun Exposure

So, how can you keep your skin young without spending a lifetime hiding in the shade? With the right sun protection through an effective sunscreen. But before choosing your sunscreen, there are six things you need to know about the sun and skin damage.

1. UV Rays Penetrate Through the Clouds

Don’t let gray skies fool you — UV rays aren’t deterred by clouds. Clouds can’t fully block UV rays. With up to 80% of UV radiation able to pass through cloud cover, sun protection during winter is a must, even in cloudy weather. So, you still need to take steps to protect your skin on cloudy days, even while you can’t feel the sun’s heat on your skin. This means that shielding your skin from the sun is a year-round effort. [1]Glass and water are other items that affect sun exposure. Most glass windows, whether in your home, work, or car, do not offer adequate protection against UV rays. If your work desk or favorite reading nook is near a window, you may want to consider taking precautions against the sun. UV rays can also penetrate water, increasing the risk of sunburn during activities such as swimming or snorkeling. [3]

1. UV Rays Penetrate Through the Clouds

Don’t let gray skies fool you — UV rays aren’t deterred by clouds. Clouds can’t fully block UV rays. With up to 80% of UV radiation able to pass through cloud cover, sun protection during winter is a must, even in cloudy weather. So, you still need to take steps to protect your skin on cloudy days, even while you can’t feel the sun’s heat on your skin. This means that shielding your skin from the sun is a year-round effort. [1]Glass and water are other items that affect sun exposure. Most glass windows, whether in your home, work, or car, do not offer adequate protection against UV rays. If your work desk or favorite reading nook is near a window, you may want to consider taking precautions against the sun. UV rays can also penetrate water, increasing the risk of sunburn during activities such as swimming or snorkeling. [3]

2. A Suntan is a Sign of Skin Injury

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, myths about suntanning remain despite robust public service announcements about the dangers of ultraviolet rays. For example, 20% of people still believe that sun tanning is safe as long as the skin doesn’t burn. [4]The truth is that a tan is an indication of skin injury from the sun. This darkening effect, often referred to as a suntan, is the skin's natural reaction to UV damage. UVB rays trigger the immediate darkening of the skin through the activation of melanocytes, the cells responsible for melanin synthesis. UVA rays, on the other hand, work to injure the deeper skin layers. The AADA advises against intentional suntanning due to the dangers of both UVA and UVB rays, as it places your skin’s health at risk. [4]

2. A Suntan is a Sign of Skin Injury

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, myths about suntanning remain despite robust public service announcements about the dangers of ultraviolet rays. For example, 20% of people still believe that sun tanning is safe as long as the skin doesn’t burn. [4]The truth is that a tan is an indication of skin injury from the sun. This darkening effect, often referred to as a suntan, is the skin's natural reaction to UV damage. UVB rays trigger the immediate darkening of the skin through the activation of melanocytes, the cells responsible for melanin synthesis. UVA rays, on the other hand, work to injure the deeper skin layers. The AADA advises against intentional suntanning due to the dangers of both UVA and UVB rays, as it places your skin’s health at risk. [4]

3. UV Radiation Accelerates Aging

Your skin cells do age naturally, but prolonged direct exposure to UV radiation ups the ante when it comes to aging. DNA alterations caused by UV rays can impair the normal functioning of skin cells, including the synthesis of collagen and elastin, key proteins responsible for skin elasticity and firmness. Unprotected sun exposure leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin — much earlier than the aging that would occur without sun exposure. 1[]

3. UV Radiation Accelerates Aging

Your skin cells do age naturally, but prolonged direct exposure to UV radiation ups the ante when it comes to aging. DNA alterations caused by UV rays can impair the normal functioning of skin cells, including the synthesis of collagen and elastin, key proteins responsible for skin elasticity and firmness. Unprotected sun exposure leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin — much earlier than the aging that would occur without sun exposure. 1[]

4. Sun Exposure Pummels Your Skin Barrier

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, particularly UVA and UVB rays, plays a significant role in damaging the skin barrier. UVB rays penetrate the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, causing direct damage to keratinocytes and altering the composition of lipids present in the stratum corneum, the skin's outermost layer. This disruption weakens the skin's barrier function, making it more susceptible to water loss and penetration by harmful substances.The weakening of the skin barrier results in increased transepidermal water loss, making the skin dehydrated. It can also lead to heightened sensitivity, irritation, and the potential for allergic reactions. Moreover, a compromised barrier lets in more environmental pollutants, allergens, and pathogens, potentially leading to inflammation, skin disorders, and infection.

4. Sun Exposure Pummels Your Skin Barrier

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, particularly UVA and UVB rays, plays a significant role in damaging the skin barrier. UVB rays penetrate the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, causing direct damage to keratinocytes and altering the composition of lipids present in the stratum corneum, the skin's outermost layer. This disruption weakens the skin's barrier function, making it more susceptible to water loss and penetration by harmful substances.The weakening of the skin barrier results in increased transepidermal water loss, making the skin dehydrated. It can also lead to heightened sensitivity, irritation, and the potential for allergic reactions. Moreover, a compromised barrier lets in more environmental pollutants, allergens, and pathogens, potentially leading to inflammation, skin disorders, and infection.

5. Uneven Skin Tone and Hyperpigmentation Occur from UV Rays

Sunlight exposure is a well-known factor contributing to the development of uneven skin tone, often characterized by hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and melasma. Prolonged or intense UV exposure disrupts the normal production and distribution of melanin, causing uneven distribution of pigmentation. Furthermore, the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by UV rays also contribute to the development of uneven skin tone. Oxidative stress disrupts the balance of enzymes involved in melanin synthesis and distribution, while inflammation can stimulate the production of melanin and exacerbate existing hyperpigmentation. [1]

5. Uneven Skin Tone and Hyperpigmentation Occur from UV Rays

Sunlight exposure is a well-known factor contributing to the development of uneven skin tone, often characterized by hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and melasma. Prolonged or intense UV exposure disrupts the normal production and distribution of melanin, causing uneven distribution of pigmentation. Furthermore, the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by UV rays also contribute to the development of uneven skin tone. Oxidative stress disrupts the balance of enzymes involved in melanin synthesis and distribution, while inflammation can stimulate the production of melanin and exacerbate existing hyperpigmentation. [1]

6. Both UVA and UVB Rays Can Cause Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a malignant growth that originates in the cells of the skin. Both UVA and UVB rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, leading to mutations and the development of skin cancer over time. The main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. [3]UV radiation-induced damage to the DNA can lead to the development of mutations, which can result in the uncontrolled growth of cells and the formation of cancerous tumors. Additionally, UV radiation can suppress the immune system's ability to detect and eliminate potentially cancerous cells. [3]
06

How to Protect Your Skin Every Day

Protecting the skin from sun damage is crucial to maintaining its health and minimizing the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer. Here are several effective ways to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun:
  • Seek shade: Limit your sun exposure, especially during peak hours when the sun's rays are the strongest, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. Find shade or wear protective clothing that provides shade.
  • Wear protective clothing: Cover your skin with loose, lightweight clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats. Darker colors and tightly woven fabrics offer better protection.
  • Use sunglasses: Protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them by wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Look for sunglasses labeled as providing UV protection.
  • Take cover under shade structures and umbrellas: When spending time outdoors, utilize shade structures, such as pop-up tents or umbrellas, to create a shaded area and reduce direct sun exposure.
  • Be cautious near reflective surfaces: Water, sand, snow, and concrete can reflect UV rays, increasing your exposure. Take extra precautions in these environments by applying sunscreen more frequently and wearing protective clothing.
  • Avoid tanning beds: Tanning beds emit harmful UV radiation and increase the risk of skin cancer. Opt for sunless tanning products or spray tans as safer alternatives.
  • All of the above interventions are excellent ways to prevent sun damage. But perhaps the primary way you can avoid UV rays is by using sunscreen. All of the above interventions are excellent ways to prevent sun damage. But perhaps the primary way you can avoid UV rays is by using sunscreen.
    • Apply sunscreen: Use a
    • broad-spectrum sunscreen
      with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher on exposed skin, including the face, neck, hands, and any other exposed areas. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.
      Remember, protecting your skin from the sun is a year-round commitment, even on cloudy or cooler days. By adopting these sun protection measures, you can safeguard your skin and maintain its health and vitality.
      06

      How to Protect Your Skin Every Day

      Protecting the skin from sun damage is crucial to maintaining its health and minimizing the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer. Here are several effective ways to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun:
      • Seek shade: Limit your sun exposure, especially during peak hours when the sun's rays are the strongest, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. Find shade or wear protective clothing that provides shade.
      • Wear protective clothing: Cover your skin with loose, lightweight clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats. Darker colors and tightly woven fabrics offer better protection.
      • Use sunglasses: Protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them by wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Look for sunglasses labeled as providing UV protection.
      • Take cover under shade structures and umbrellas: When spending time outdoors, utilize shade structures, such as pop-up tents or umbrellas, to create a shaded area and reduce direct sun exposure.
      • Be cautious near reflective surfaces: Water, sand, snow, and concrete can reflect UV rays, increasing your exposure. Take extra precautions in these environments by applying sunscreen more frequently and wearing protective clothing.
      • Avoid tanning beds: Tanning beds emit harmful UV radiation and increase the risk of skin cancer. Opt for sunless tanning products or spray tans as safer alternatives.
      • All of the above interventions are excellent ways to prevent sun damage. But perhaps the primary way you can avoid UV rays is by using sunscreen. All of the above interventions are excellent ways to prevent sun damage. But perhaps the primary way you can avoid UV rays is by using sunscreen.
        • Apply sunscreen: Use a
        • broad-spectrum sunscreen
          with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher on exposed skin, including the face, neck, hands, and any other exposed areas. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.
          Remember, protecting your skin from the sun is a year-round commitment, even on cloudy or cooler days. By adopting these sun protection measures, you can safeguard your skin and maintain its health and vitality.
          07

          Protect Your Skin with 0S-01 SHIELD

          OS-01 SHIELD offers sun protection and repair in one simple step. Combining a non-nano mineral UV filter, nourishing antioxidants, and OneSkin’s OS-01 Senescence Blocking Peptide®, tOS-01 SHIELD protects your skin from harmful rays while rejuvenating it from within. [5] Whether you choose our tinted sunscreen or untinted formula, you’ll find the velvety texture glides on effortlessly, leaving a sheer, luminous finish. With its SPF 30 strength, OS-01 SHIELD neutralizes age-accelerating free radicals at least 4x more effectively than leading anti-aging SPFs.* No matter your age, it’s never too late to protect your skin.
          07

          Protect Your Skin with 0S-01 SHIELD

          OS-01 SHIELD offers sun protection and repair in one simple step. Combining a non-nano mineral UV filter, nourishing antioxidants, and OneSkin’s OS-01 Senescence Blocking Peptide®, tOS-01 SHIELD protects your skin from harmful rays while rejuvenating it from within. [5] Whether you choose our tinted sunscreen or untinted formula, you’ll find the velvety texture glides on effortlessly, leaving a sheer, luminous finish. With its SPF 30 strength, OS-01 SHIELD neutralizes age-accelerating free radicals at least 4x more effectively than leading anti-aging SPFs.* No matter your age, it’s never too late to protect your skin.
          Disclaimers
          * Shown by utilizing a chemical probe with a stable radical that changes color when that radical is scavenged to track the antioxidant capabilities of different sunscreens
          Disclaimers
          * Shown by utilizing a chemical probe with a stable radical that changes color when that radical is scavenged to track the antioxidant capabilities of different sunscreens
          Key Takeaways:
          • Sun exposure ages your skin faster than time.
          • A suntan is the skin's natural reaction to UV damage and is an indication of skin damage from the sun.
          • About 80% of UV rays can reach your skin on cloudy days, as well as sunny ones.
          • Sun exposure weakens the skin barrier, increasing the risk of inflammation, infection, and skin disorders.
          • Sunscreen is an effective protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. OS-01 SHIELD from OneSkin works as both a protective barrier and a nutritious lotion to rebuild your skin. Incorporating OS-01 SHIELD into your daily skin care routines is a proactive measure for overall well-being and skin protection.
          Key Takeaways:
          • Sun exposure ages your skin faster than time.
          • A suntan is the skin's natural reaction to UV damage and is an indication of skin damage from the sun.
          • About 80% of UV rays can reach your skin on cloudy days, as well as sunny ones.
          • Sun exposure weakens the skin barrier, increasing the risk of inflammation, infection, and skin disorders.
          • Sunscreen is an effective protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. OS-01 SHIELD from OneSkin works as both a protective barrier and a nutritious lotion to rebuild your skin. Incorporating OS-01 SHIELD into your daily skin care routines is a proactive measure for overall well-being and skin protection.

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          Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

          Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

          Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

          Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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