Throughout a normal day, we expose our skin to many everyday environmental factors which can be quite harmful, including chemical products, pollution, stress and ageing, all of which can badly affect both the color and texture of our skin. However, one of the most significant causes of damage to our skin and therefore one of the biggest threats is the sun.
Although sun is often cast as the giver of life, it is also one of the harshest of tests that our skin has to face. Unless you are able to spend all the daylight hours inside, then inevitably you will be exposed to sunlight throughout your life. Additionally with many of us increasingly embracing the outdoor lifestyle, then our exposure is increased even more. Although we are increasingly aware that the sun can severely damage our skin, many people still choose to expose their skin to the rays of the sun without adequate protection. But why is the sun dangerous to our skin in the first place?
It is the ultraviolet (UV) rays that come from the sun that have the largest effect on the skin. Lighter skinned people are more likely to be susceptible to these rays than people with a darker skin type. This is predominantly due to a component of the skin called melanin, which is a significant contributor to the color of human skin – the higher the melanin content, the darker the skin color. However, the prime role of melanin in the skin is to absorb and neutralize the harmful ultraviolet SkinCell PRO rays. As people with a darker skin will have more melanin in their skin than lighter skinned people, they are less prone to lesions or sunburns caused by the UV rays.
When the skin is exposed to UV rays the skin will also produce more melanin to help absorb the rays. This in turn leads to the skin darkening or, as we more commonly know it, tanning. In other words, the process of tanning is all about exposure to UV rays in order to increase the melanin levels in the skin and therefore darken it. Tans gradually fade over time as through the natural process of skin growth and regeneration, these cells containing increased melanin are pushed to the surface of the skin to be discarded and replaced by the next layer of skin.
However, prolonged or excessive exposure to these UV rays can reach a level where the melanin can no longer absorb these rays, and damage to the skin begins to occur. At times these areas of skin damage may not be replaced, leading to patches of darker skin or brown spots which do not disappear through the normal skin growth process. In worst case instances, these areas may develop into skin cancers or diseases as a result of the overexposure.