Sun and Your Skin

That perfect sunkissed look is something that we all look for. Various tanning salons have sprung up in the recent times to offer you that golden skin tone. But many people still stick to the conventional methods of skin tan i.e. the sun. Although sunlight is essential for growth, there are a few facts about sunlight that you must know. To know the answer you must understand the composition of sunlight and how these different components affect your skin.

Ultraviolet rays: An essential component of sunlight
Amidst various other gases and components, ultraviolet rays are one of the most prominent components of sunlight. UV rays from the sun are categorized into 4 different categories: UVA, UVB, UVC and vacuum UV. The UVC and vacuum UV is usually filtered by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth's surface. The UVA and UVB reach the surface of the earth and affect our skin. Let us see how they affect your skin.

UVA rays- These rays darken the melanin pigment that exists in the sun. UVA rays only cause temporary tanning. Sun tan caused due to UVA rays does not last for more than a few days.

UVB rays- UVB produces melanin at a much faster rate as compared to UVA, which means it will tan your skin faster. However, UVB can cause extreme sunburn in absence of necessary precautions.

Tanning due to the sun
Sun can tan your skin in two phases i.e. the IPD phase and the delayed tanning phase. IPD or Immediate Pigment Darkening is caused due to the UV rays. You will notice skin darkening immediately after sun exposure. However, the tan withers away after a few hours or days. On the other hand, delayed tanning is caused due to increased melanin production. You will notice a change in skin color after 72 hours of exposure to the sun.

Risks of sun exposure

Exposure to sunlight would tan your skin but it could also result in to following:
* Skin wrinkling and poor skin texture i.e. dry and rough skin
* Decreased skin strength and elasticity
* Large brown lesions on the skin
* Thinner and fragile skin
* Exposure to sun for longer duration can lead to noncancerous and cancerous skin tumors

Some tips to protect your self from the sun
The key to avoiding damage caused due to sun lies in taking the appropriate protection. Here are some helpful tips:

* Use a sunscreen with a high SPF.
* Even if you want to tan your skin via sunlight, make sure that you limit your exposure to the sun.

Sun is surely a great way to get that golden glow, but you have to be sure that you take all the necessary precautions so that you do not end up damaging yourself.