Illustrations by: Chocoreaper/deviantart
While summer is about spending days out at the beach and swimming in pools, for most of us the sound of summer gets scarier as they begin to tan and or burn. Although sun emit harmful UVA and UVB rays that are damaging equally for everyone, some people tan easily than others. People of color are more prone to tanning- hold UVA rays responsible whereas, people of light skin usually suffer from sun burn that could be more painful & unforgiving. Nothing but adequate sun protection can improve one’s resistance to sun exposure. Summer is the time to absorb as much of vitamin D as possible- go out in the sun & party but never forget to wear a broad spectrum sun protection and wear it many times a day.
What is the Difference between Suntan and Sunburn?
Tanning is caused by UVA rays that are long wavelength. Almost 90% of the sun rays that reach to earth are UVA. They are omnipresent during day-whether it’s cloudy or rainy- whenever there is day light there are UVA rays present. Since UVA rays penetrate deeper into skin they are responsible for dryness, disrupting skin’s natural barrier, pre mature ageing, tanning & skin related diseases such as cancer. However, not all people tan. People of color have skin cells called melanocytes that produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin gives skin its color. It is also a part of body’s defense mechanism. It absorbs heat and in an effort to prevent body from sunburn melanocytes spreads and promotes melanin pigment across the body. This way, people of color often seem to have a toasted skin whenever they are over exposed to sun.
Sunburn is caused by UVB rays and light skin people are most affected. The condition leaves people miserable and in state of pain. Sunburn turns skin red, leading to inflammation & sometimes even blisters that ouch when touched. Since their bodies lack naturally occurring pigment to prevent tanning, they are more prone to burning. They burn before they tan therefore sun protection should always be generously applied before going into sun.
It is to keep in mind that water reflects sun rays and so does snow, concrete and other elements. A broad spectrum sun protection with SPF 30 and PA+++ should be chosen during scorching sunny days for adequate prevention from damaging effects of harmful UV rays.
The Bottom Line:
Whether you have dark skin or are from the tribe of light skin, sunrays are going to leave devastating effects. Although brown people have active defense mechanism against sun rays, in absence of sun protection, they will absorb UV rays that may lead to wrinkles & skin cancer in later years of life. UV A rays are considered silent killers as they are not felt yet seen in the form of toasted or browner skin.
Light skin people on the other hand burn. They burn before they could tan due to the absence of melanin that actually acts as a natural sun protection. UVB rays are more closely associated with skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation.
Sun protection with UVA and UVB rays is crucial in summer. Apply a broad spectrum UV blocking lotion at least 15 minutes prior to going out and reapply every 2 hours for maximum protection from sun and optimal benefits from UV interception product.